WHEELING - Rather than sit idly by and watch the possibility of he and his friends drifting apart after high school, 20-year-old Andrew Schuetz came up with an idea, which he immediately pitched to buddies Michael Zavolta, 21, a West Liberty student, and Jake Flatley, 20, a Sports Journalism major at WLU.
"After many of us had completed our first year of college we were all looking for something to do since our high school athletic careers had ended,'' Schuetz recalled. "So I thought it would be a good idea to organize a basketball league with our friends to get everyone together and have some good competition."
And so, the Clearview Basketball League was born.
Clearview Basketball League founders: from right to left, Jake Flatley, Michael Zavolta and Andrew Schuetz.
Beginning Monday, June 10, games will be contested at Garden Park in Warwood from roughly 7-10 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Approximately 10 regular-season games for each team are played by "ones and twos," with 30 total points being the goal. You must win by two points, or whichever team gets to 40 first will be declared the winner.
"Every team makes the playoffs and they are Best-of-3 series,'' Schuetz explained.
Sign-ups were held in early May at both Garden Park and Glen Dale Park, and 11, six-man teams are scheduled to compete in the second-year event, which is sponsored by Zavolta Law Offices, in part to help with T-shirt costs.
"We picked what we believed were the 11 best players as captains, then the remaining 55 players were put on a draft board in which the captains will pick their team,'' said Schuetz, who attends Wheeling Jesuit and is an Athletic Training major. "The objective of the draft is to spread out the talent so the teams are fairly equal."
Schuetz said the turnout for last year's inaugural tournament was better than expected, "especially in the playoffs." One would expect the following will be even better this time around considering the 2013 event is being played in memory of Kurt Myers and Randy Stephens, two Wheeling Park students that saw their lives cut tragically short.
"Warwood is a very close-knit community in which we are all like family,'' Schuetz said. "Therefore when we heard this terrible news on losing two great kids, we decided this year the league would be for them. Personally I knew Kurt because he was my neighbor and I grew up with him my whole life.
"Also, we (Flatley and Schuetz) played trumpet with him in the Warwood Middle School band.
"Randy was a kid many people in the league knew through grade and high school and he inspired many through his fight with cancer."
Cost to enter is $13 a person, with proceeds going to the Myers and Stephens families.
"The league is both a charity and just for fun,'' Schuetz said. "At the beginning the league was just for fun, however this year when we decided to dedicate to the league to Randy and Kurt it has become an event to help raise money for the families of our friends who have passed."
The league may have taken a more serious turn this time around, but the end result is ultimately what it's about.
"We want to keep basketball fun while giving local kids a chance to get together over summer,'' Schuetz said.
Flatley has taken it a step further, creating both Twitter and Instragram accounts (@ClearviewHoops), as well as a website (www.clearviewbasketballleague.weebly.com) to help spread the word.
"This is a must these days in order for the league to be successful and the kids love it,'' Flatley said. "Right now we have 120 followers - double the number of the kids in the league.
"Once the league gets going and we tweet about it, kids will start retweeting and talking about the website, which means others not in league will wants shirts, thus raising more money for Randy and Kurt's families.
"Being a sports journalism major I love doing this and the kids love it too, and that is what matters."