Fans make all the difference for WarriorsPublished 9:17pm Saturday, December 8, 2012
Nansemond River head basketball coach Ed Young was surprised by how well his younger team handled the frenzied atmosphere of the Warriors’ home game against cross-town rival King’s Fork. Instead of straining under the intensity of having a massive crowd present, the team fed off of the cheers from the River Rowdies, as the team’s fans have been dubbed.
The Warriors got to be the visiting team in a cross-town match-up this past Tuesday at Lakeland. Nansemond River junior forward Devon Oakley was asked if the road atmosphere affected his mindset at all.
“No, because we have the best fans in Virginia in the River Rowdies and they were here supporting us,” he said. “So, it wasn’t really a big difference.”
Nansemond River did a have a vocal contingent on hand and senior forward Ed Drew acknowledged them as well while addressing what the team’s optimal mindset should be regardless of the atmosphere.
“Shout to the Rowdies,” he said. “I want to thank them for their support and either way, wherever we’re at, we just got to play our game, and make a stand of who we are — we’re Nansemond River.”
Lakeland track coach Kevin Knight is a great example of how striving to do your best in everything can pay impressive and possibly surprising dividends.
Knight, who also serves as a special education teacher at Lakeland, was both a football player and a track star at Lakeland in the late-1990s. He won the state championship for the 300 meter dash and was named an All-American in 1998 for his performances in the 60 meter dash and the 4×200 relay. He still holds the school record for in the 100 meter dash, 10.53 seconds, and the 200 meter dash, 21.64 seconds.
With all those accolades, one might assume that track was what ultimately earned him a commitment on the collegiate level.
“I ended up with a football scholarship, but track helped me out with that too,” he said.
Earning her place
Lauren Doughtie of Suffolk, who earned her place on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour this past weekend, explained what was the biggest challenge in reaching her level of success in the sport.
“With any job and any sport or anything, there are always ups-and-downs, and I think sometimes you feel the downs more in a sport like golf where other sports you feel like you win more often.”
She explained that in basketball, to have a great season, a team generally has to win more than 20 games.
“In golf, if you win once in a season, it’s a really good year,” she said. “To experience the letdowns and bounce back from them, I think, is hard, and to keep your motivation. But as long as you have the right people around you, it makes it a lot easier.”
Meeting this biggest challenge has not only enabled her to achieve her dream of being a pro, but she also gets to enjoy one of the major perks that comes with being on the LPGA tour — getting to travel all over the world.
“We don’t necessarily get as much time to sightsee as people sometimes might think, but I’ve had the opportunity to go a lot of places the game’s taken me already,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to the places I’ll get to go in the future and see and experience.”