In the spotlight

Published 2:56 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018

College athletics signing ceremonies are a special experience, and the school officials organizing and running them play a major role in the kind of impact the event can have on its student-athlete participants and those in attendance.

Central High School (CHS) held what CHS Athletic Director Wallace Owen said was its first signing ceremony in a while Thursday, and he and the school did a good job making sure it was special.

For a brief segment of that afternoon, part of Central’s cafeteria became the site of the signing ceremony, which functions like a press conference, putting a spotlight on seniors Hailey Bayne and John McGrath.

McGrath formally announced his commitment to play football for Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC), and Bayne was formalizing her commitment to play softball for Lynchburg College.

When executed right, signing ceremonies can give participants a taste of the limelight, with some of the pressure that accompanies it. Central’s event accomplished this.

I was there representing the newspaper, but I also was not the only photographer. A couple of others were moving about, snapping photos as the participants signed.

Owen hosted the event, opening it up with comments about McGrath, Bayne and their impacts on Central’s football and softball programs, respectively.

Family members and coaches were present for both student-athletes, flanking them behind a row of long tables. The tables were decorated with Central’s colors and also featured gear from both Lynchburg and H-SC.

Lunenburg County Public Schools Superintendent Charles Berkley and Central Principal John Long were gathered behind Bayne and McGrath.

Bayne addressed those in attendance, and McGrath read from a prepared statement.

The formality of the event puts some pressure on the student-athletes to be prepared and professional, serving as good prep for their futures in the workforce, and it also helps them realize that what they’ve earned at this point is a big deal.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@