David Mitchell commentary: Choosing All-Bi-City is rewarding, but difficult

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.comApril 2, 2014 

For the second time this school year, it’s All-Bi-City time.

Beginning Friday, we will release selections for each of the three winter sports — swimming on Friday, wrestling Saturday and basketball on Sunday.

It’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s also one of my least favorite.

I’ll explain.

As exciting as it is for athletes to be recognized for their individual accomplishments, it’s just as fulfilling to do the recognizing. As a sports writer, I watch a ton of games each season, and it’s fun at the end to be able to point out some of the individuals who impressed me throughout the year.

By the same token, it’s just as agonizing when I have to leave a player off the first- or second-team, simply because there are only so many spots to fill.

Every time around, there are athletes who put together an impressive season, one that could logically be considered for first-team or player of the year or whatever the case may be. And every time around, I find myself with a list of about six or seven more than I have room for.

And the emails and calls inevitably come in from coaches or parents or casual observers who believe their player was overlooked — which don’t offend me at all, by the way. I welcome the feedback, and chances are I’ve made the same arguments they make about why that person deserved to make the team.

This time around, I found myself stuck for hours on both boys and girls basketball selections.

On the girls side, there was an incredibly deep pool of players drawn from playoff teams, state title participants and state champions. On the boys, a handful of deep playoff runs and others who excelled in otherwise rebuilding seasons.

It took extra care to come up with what I think is a fair list.

I looked at stats provided by coaches, considered team performance and the impact each player had on it, and looked at videos of the players on YouTube, when available. I looked at the level of competition teams faced, as well as the level of help they received from the teammates around them.

I went back through the schedule to find important games, taking note of how each player performed, and I drew on my own memories of the players I had watched in person throughout the year.

In some cases, I simply couldn’t separate one player or coach from another. I could come up with reasons why either one deserved the nod.

In the end, I think the teams came out well, though.

Does that mean many of you won’t disagree? Of course not. There are players on second team who I think had fantastic seasons, and their family and friends will undoubtedly think they deserved higher recognition.

You, of course, can see my dilemma.

As stated before: It’s a fulfilling process, but a difficult one. Hopefully, you all will be satisfied with the results.

David Mitchell, dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.com. Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.

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