Prim can't trim one sport
Baseball, hoops:WVW signee has it both ways
Bob Gay/The Dominion Post

Bobby Prim the baseball player churns for third base in a game this season.

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post

Bobby Prim the basketball player drives for a shot.


The Dominion Post

He's as crafty with the glove and bat as he is with his no-look passes and crossover dribble.

Therein lies the problem for Morgantown High's Bobby Prim.

Prim, like so many other high school athletes today, had heard all about how it would be better for him to specialize in one sport once he reached high school.

It's a trend that began in the 1990s and has picked up strength. From the time a talented athlete enters high school at 14, he is told it 's better for him to concentrate on one sport if he wants to continue playing in college.

For Prim, it meant making a choice between basketball and baseball -- the two sports he has loved to play since he could remember.

"I remember sitting down and talking about it with my parents," Prim said Thursday before signing a letter of intent to play baseball at West Virginia Wesleyan. "We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of playing just one."

In the end, he chose to play both.

"I just couldn't see myself not playing both sports," said Prim, who led the MHS boys' basketball team to a 22-4 record and the state semifinals this past season. "I really loved to play both. To ask me to quit one of them ... I just couldn't do it."

It's not an easy decision, especially when a player is just 14 or 15.

"It sounds kind of unfair to ask a kid to do something like that, because there's a lot of other stuff going on in a player's life at that age to worry about," Prim said.

No kidding. Like puberty, relationships, pressures over drugs and alcohol, driving permits ... just to name a few.

"But, that's just how it is now," Prim continued. "Coaches realize playing one sport is really what's best for a player if they want to go to the next level. It's just something players have to get used to."

It wasn't always like that. There was a time when it was hip to play three, maybe four sports.

"Two sports is all that you can really get away with now, if you're serious about playing in college," Prim said. "If a kid plays three or more sports, it's probably because he just likes playing. A three-sport athlete today probably means they aren't serious about playing at the next level."

Prim, who plans to major in pharmacy, admits continuing to play two sports may have cost him.

"I never really got a chance to work on my weaknesses," Prim said. "I always went straight from basketball to baseball. I never really had the opportunity to improve as much as I could have if I stuck with one."

If given the chance to do it all over again, Prim would do the same thing. In fact, he said he may look into playing basketball while at Wesleyan.

"I would have played both sports again, there's no doubt about that," he said. "It was just too much fun. There's no way I would quit playing one."

Return to the listing of articles of May 10, 2002.