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McCollum's Column: The appetizers and dessert of All-Star week

Posted: June 24, 2014 - 5:34pm

Monday is herding day for the Arkansas high school All-Stars.

For videographer Eric White and myself, it’s hustle day.

While groups of high school athletes met their coaches, got instructions and posed for official pictures, Eric and I scampered about the Farris Center to catch as many interviews with Faulkner County participants as possible.

The youngsters were often at opposite ends of the Farris Center and going through their obligations at the same time.

There are more than two dozen participants from our county schools.

We rounded up as many as possible and will continue our pursuit throughout the week.

You can view the interviews @thecabin.net.

In addition to the cliche “how does it feel” questions, we tried to give a glimpse into the All-Star personalities with questions about favorite teams, athletes and a favorite dessert.

The answers for the favored teams and athletes were not surprising.

The dessert answers were interesting. Anything chocolate or ice cream were favorites but we also had votes for banana pudding, strawberry pie, Italian cream cake, ice cream, lemon meringue pie and key lime pie. I’ll leave it to you readers to decide who favored what.

What was clear is the All-Stars and their coaches are excited about a fun week and meeting new friends and playing alongside athletes that they had competed against for years in youth leagues and high school. It’s a time of competition but also a time of dorm chatter and laughter.

The full impact of the week may not hit the many of the participants until years later.

The coaches are honored to have been selected by their peers.

Jordan Danberry, the MVP of the 7A state basketball tournament, is a junior and not eligible for All-Star play. The Lady Cats’ Ashley Nance, who heads the East squad, selected her as a manager to get a feel for the experience.

Monday afternoon, she was on a food run.

“She told me that it seems like she was running errands a lot. I told her that’s what you do this week. That’s what managers do,” said Nance.

Nance, from Guy-Perkins, has played in the game and now is getting the perspective from the other end as a head coach.

“I can still remember playing in the game and how it was and that’s good for a coach,” she said.

Calvin Mallett, the former Yellville coach, who is president of the Arkansas High School Coaches Association, gave the rules talk to the All-Stars.

Basically, it’s to obey all rules while having fun. There are coaches in the dorms for interpretation.

The athletes turn in their car keys to their coaches. They are supposed to be in their dorm rooms by 10:30 each night and lights out at 11 p.m.

Therefore, any delivery pizza must be ordered by 9:30 p.m.

Essentially, Mallett said bluntly, “Don’t do anything stupid.”

At the time, most of the All-Stars seemed to have their head spinning in grasping the excitement of the moment.

Some are just awed by living on a college campus.

We expect they’ll be a lot of late-night pizza orders, snack runs by managers and interesting conversation.

At some point, they will play games.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)

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