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Bits & Pieces

Bits & Pieces: Without work, some local organizations could be lost in time

By Stan Ber, howardcountysports@patuxent.com

May 30, 2013

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It is odd how so few sports organizations in this county have no historical records of their beginnings. Some people simply either don't know about the origins of their organizations or don't care. The Community Sports Hall of Fame committee has requested this information on several occasions and received nothing in return. The committee, about to announce its latest class of inductees, has a difficult job because organizations would like to have some of their members inducted but cannot provide supporting information. I have personally gone to organizations and asked for a historical summary and came away with a nod but no tangible result.

It is not an easy task to bring together all the information needed to write an organization's history. Many who started organizations have either died or moved on. Still there are people around today who can recall at least some of that history and I am sure there are documents that can assist any organization. My feeling, however, is that people might think that a written history is a good idea but nobody wants to do the dirty work and write it.

I have requested such a document more than once in this column with stunning failure. I am shocked that nobody seems to want to leave some sort of organizational legacy to those who will lead in the future.

Smolyak's big day

Recent Atholton High graduate Gary Smolyak and his mother Natalie won't soon forget Gary's attempt to do two things almost at once on May 24: graduate from high school at Merriweather Post Pavilion and get to Morgan State University in Baltimore for the state track and field championships. The Smolyaks made a mad dash for it, leaving the graduation at 5 p.m. and heading for Baltimore for his race at 6:20. Even though Memorial Day weekend traffic was surprisingly light, Gary did not have time to warm up. Nevertheless, he finished seventh in the 3,200 meter run in a time of 9:35.82. Please, county officials, no more of these conflicts.

Columbia Invitational turns 40

It has been 40 years now since the start of the soccer tournament that became the Columbia Invitational. It began as the result of a request from soccer enthusiasts who wanted a local tournament during Memorial Day weekend. The total budget was $500 and the sponsor was a local newspaper. Included in the deal was the world's ugliest trophy. Today, the Invitational has 640 teams and is considered to be the largest tournament in Maryland according to Mike Libber of Elite Tournaments. Teams come mostly from the East Coast and a crowd of 25,000 takes part.

Violence against refs must end

I hope that those involved in youth sports watched Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel on HBO this week. It was a scary episode which dealt with the recent assault and death of a Utah soccer official at the hands of a high school goalie. Another official had every bone in his face broken when he was attacked by a mob of young players angry at his calls. Some of the assaults were actually shown and it told me that we are raising kids who have no respect for anything. They solve problems with their fists.

I recall talking to a basketball official here in Howard County who told me that he leaves a window partly open where he dresses in order to make a quick escape. Others leave their cars close to the playing field for that quick getaway. Many officials want police protection because they realize that they could be next. This behavior shows lack of respect for the game, for other people and for the law. I haven't seen any of this behavior in our community and I hope I never do.