There's dust gathering on a shelf somewhere in Bridgeport where a trophy should be setting, one lauding the accomplishments of a team which bested the elements and its fellow competitors in the Class AA, Region II golf tournament.
There's a group of high school kids from that same community who should be competing at the state championships next week in Wheeling that won't be.
All because tournament officials who were assigned by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission to ensure that the tournament in Moorefield ran smoothly and properly didn't.
The players know the basic rules of the game, each swing counts as a stroke, hitting in the water or losing a ball is a penalty. But most of these kids have never and will never compete in a United States Golf Association sanctioned event, so they will more than likely be unfamiliar with post-round procedures once they finish that final hole. The referee, umpire or whatever title the person in charge takes needs to realize that not only are they there to interpret rules, but also to prevent any infractions from ever taking place.
We at The Inter-Mountain applaud tournament officials like Randy Hernly at Stonewall Resort, who instructs these young golfers on the proper procedures both prior to the start of the match and as they walk toward the clubhouse. Sitting down with each group and painstakingly going over each number, hole by hole with each player, Hernly resolves any discrepancies and settles any disputes before allowing the scorecards to be officially signed and scores posted.
That didn't happen Monday at the Valley View Golf Course, and it resulted in two competitors being disqualified. Some may say to blame the coaches from the respective schools for not helping their players get through the unfamiliar territory of a scoring tent unscathed. But many of those same coaches were still out on the course, having been mandated by the state's rules to serve as spotters for groups containing players other than those from their own school.
Many of these high school golfers and their parents drove two hours or more to compete in this tournament, taking time away from work and school and investing money into food and lodging, only to see their efforts be for naught. These high school student-athletes have been practicing and practicing all summer to be at their best for this one day. They expected - no, they deserved - to have the same from the tournament's officials.