County should host All-Star Sports Week

Published 2:44 pm Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It’s no surprise that everyone I’ve talked to that has participated in an AHSAA All-Star Sports Week in Huntsville has really enjoyed it. Everything from the dorms at the University of Alabama-Huntsville to the facilities.

The city of Pelham lost the wrestling state championship to Huntsville due to a scheduling conflict in February, and after covering the championship it may find a home in the Von Braun Center for a long time to come.

But even though Huntsville is doing a good job with the sports week doesn’t mean Shelby County would do worse. It might do better.

It’s hard for me to recall many national sporting events that have come to Huntsville over the past year. Since January of 2007, Shelby County has hosted the Bassmaster Classic, an NCAA Division II men’s basketball regional, two Xterra Southeast Championships, a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier, a U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, numerous camps and individual games that include players or coaches from across the nation or world.

It’s also no surprise that anyone I talk to who has attended or taken part in a sporting event in Shelby County has enjoyed it.

Not to take anything away from Huntsville, but I believe it’s time for the sports week to be more centrally located in the state. While there may be a few more football fields or arenas to choose from in the Birmingham area, Shelby County should play a principal or supporting role in bringing the week to the Birmingham Metro Area.

If it were specifically in Shelby County, baseball, basketball and volleyball could be played at the University of Montevallo or Pelham Civic Complex. Football would be played at Spain Park High School, softball at Veterans Park in either Alabaster or Hoover. Soccer is the only facility that would be hard to recreate. While Sports Blast has the fields, John Hunt Park still wins out for the best soccer stadiums.

When the current contract with Huntsville runs out for Sports Week, the county should look at making the idea a reality and bring the state’s best athletes to the heart of the state.

If the county is good enough for national and international events, it’s good enough for the AHSAA, right?