To the editor - Jefferson tennis has never even won 'state'

June 24, 2007

To the editor:

The Jefferson County High School tennis program is a good one, no doubt, but it is not nearly as impressive as you wrote. "Outside of Bradenton, Fla., Jefferson might be the most prolific tennis factory in the United States." Huh? You've got to be kidding.

Jefferson has never even won a West Virginia state tennis championship! I'm not sure the Cougars have ever even had a boy or girl win a state championship at No. 1.

Parkersburg and George Washington historically have been the powerhouses in West Virginia. Both have umpteen state tennis titles. Jefferson has none.


As a former sports writer myself, I realize there is some leeway given to ink-stained wretches who write about the manly (as well as womanly) sports but that literary cushion goes only so far. Your statement was laughable.

This next complaint is a minor one. In West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, we do not call going to state championships going to "states." We say the kids go to "state," as in the state tournament. Perhaps Maryland uses that terminology but I think they are sailing against the wind.

Third, and hopefully this does not apply to you but to the other sports guys, but the Herald-Mail needs to understand the difference between the use of the noun Big Reds, as in Parkersburg High School's Big Reds, and the adjective, Big Red. It is the Big Red football team but we call its players the Big Reds. I have seen a couple of instances over the years where the Herald-Mail used the wrong term. It is especially egregious when it is put into a coach's quote and the knowledgeable reader knows that is not what the coach really said. Even the dumbest Big Red coach knows better than to do that.

By the way, my two older sons played for the Big Reds while my younger son, Paul, played for Glenn Edwards at Jefferson. I know Mr. Edwards to be a fine coach and this in no way is meant to disparage either him or his program. But even he should be embarrassed by what you wrote.

Speaking of Parkersburg High School, it was deemed by Sports Illustrated a couple of years ago as having the nation's 13th best high school sports program. Go ahead, look it up. And please get it right.

Bob Robinson

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