Could be the start of something big

Spring sports jamboree brainchild of Heritage AD

Photo with no caption
By Stefan Cooper
Sports editor
Blount Today

Football and basketball have long had jamborees for teams at Blount County’s four high schools to slip on the game uniforms for the first time and scrimmage someone other than themselves. The five spring sports at area schools have never known such a gathering, begging the question, "Why?"

Heritage High School athletics director Terri Bradshaw first posed that question during the opening weeks of basketball season last November. It would be neat, she said, to gather the baseball, softball, soccer, tennis and track teams at Alcoa, Heritage, Maryville and William Blount at one site on a Saturday afternoon prior to the season. A spring sports jamboree, she said, was a deserving preseason showcase for teams that have generated numerous championships through the years.
Nice idea, but it would never happen. Too many teams, too many athletes, not enough time to pull it all together.

Bradshaw, the Blount Today staff would soon learn, was serious.

The Heritage sports czar contacted Blount Today advertising manager Marty Millsaps, enquiring if the paper would be willing to sponsor such an event. Blount Today publisher Sherri Gardner-Howell got fired up over the idea in record time. It was never, "Can we do this?" but "How?"

Heritage had on-campus facilities for all five sports, Bradshaw said. Let’s do it, she said. Last Saturday, the first Blount Today Spring Sports Jamboree played to a surprisingly strong turnout on the playing fields at Heritage High School.

Baseball teams from Heritage, Alcoa, Maryville and William Blount all took part, with softball’s Lady Rebels, Lady Governors
and host Lady Mountaineers also braving brisk winds and cool temperatures. Tennis was represented in full, including state doubles pairing Kylie Elliot and Alex Pyle of William Blount. The Mountaineer soccer team did its part, staging an intra-squad scrimmage.

A full turnout in the jamboree’s first year wasn’t expected. An annual youth religious retreat fell on the same weekend, taking from many teams most, if not all, of its players. Most area track teams were in only their first week of practice.

The idea of a spring sports jamboree has merit, though. Scheduling and other tweaks could produce something genuinely special in coming years. All five sports from all four schools, massed at one location on a preseason Saturday afternoon, would be an awe-inspiring sight.

If it happens, all credit will be due a trailblazing, get-it-done athletics director, who had the gumption to simply ask, "Why?"

Upcoming games

Baseball

Monday

  • Maryville at William Blount, 6 p.m.
  • Christian Academy of Knoxville at Alcoa, 5 p.m.
  • South-Doyle at Heritage, 6 p.m.

Tuesday

  • Sevier County at Maryville (at Maryville College), 5 p.m.
  • Heritage at Alcoa, 2 p.m.

Wednesday

  • William Blount at Seymour, 6 p.m.
  • Heritage at Morristown West Tournament, TBA

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