By Michael Minnich
Tribune Sports Editor
mminnich@newstribune.info

KEYSER—A staple of the youth sports scene in Mineral County for years, Church League basketball has strayed in recent years from its roots, according to Keyser Area Ministerial Assocation president Randy Crowe.
“Three years ago, I heard the F-bomb dropped six times within a game,” said Crowe. “People in the stands were riding the referees.”
Since that day, KAMA?has discussed how best to get the spirit (or Spirit) back in the league, which includes players in the “B’ (grades 3-5), “A” (grades 6-8), and Senior (grades 9-12) divisions.
“Each participant (player or coach) is to conduct themselves with integrity and respect towards their fellow players, coaches, officials, KAMA?representatives, fans, and the league director in such a way that glorifies God,” reads the league registration form.
Players compete for their home church, unless the numbers at that church are insufficient ot support a team.
Players are then put into a “draft pool” and assigned to an existing team.
Each player is guaranteed an equivalent of at least two quarters per game.
“This is not a Rec league,” said Crowe. “But we want good, hard competition. If you drive the lane and knock someone on their butt, that’s fine, as long as you pick them up.”
The decision was made, Crowe said, to make each church responsible for enforcing the rules already on the books (players must participate in church-related activities 60% of the year) as well as adding that players cannot miss more than two consecutive weeks of church activities.
“We are attempting to make the rules clear and easily defined,” said Crowe in a letter.
“This decision wasn’t made to exclude people,” said Crowe. “We’re not trying to be unreasonable.”
“We want parents to call us if they don’t think it’s fair. We’ll discuss things with them. That’s better than someone complaining about it in the stands.”
Crowe said that events such as the Youth Alive club at Keyser High School and other community-wide church activities will count towards these requirements.
“Yes, we are fishing for your attendance,” said Crowe. “Here’s the bait.”