Iron sharpens iron
It’s only human to wonder whether or not a .220 hitter at the Advanced-A level is prepared for the jump in opponents’ skill that comes with a promotion to Triple-A.
For Chiefs center fielder Boomer Whiting, combat courses through his veins.
“It’s ridiculous, any competition we could have in the household, we got it. When me and my older brother and younger brother are home for the holidays, it’s a madhouse,” Whiting told me in a conversation above Norfolk’s Harbor Park. “Ping pong, foosball, trash talkin’, rap battlin’, dance competitions…anything you can compete in, it’ll come up in our house.”
Winter at Whiting manor in Pennsylvania includes snow football games where Boomer and brothers Bobby (age 28) and Sutton (age 18) rotate between offense and defense and tally up how many touchdowns they score. Each of the three has excelled as a running back and defensive back at Wilmington Area High under the same head coach, Terry Verrelli. The Whitings have become such a durable strand in the school’s fabric, their jersey number has become, essentially, the family’s crest.
“My older brother wore 24. His senior year, I was a sophomore and he asked if I’d wear 24 as a junior and senior and I said ‘yeah, definitely,’” Boomer says. ” I was All-State that year. When my younger brother was a freshman, a senior had 24. It was a no-brainer, he didn’t even have to ask for 24, the senior just gave it to him.”
Sutton, the youngest Whiting boy, is planning to attend the University of Louisville as Boomer did to play shortstop starting in the fall of 2011. For now, though, he’s got one more year to expand his football legacy–one which may outshine that of his brothers.
“He was the star tailback/DB on our schools first state championship team in 2008,” Boomer says. Any time I bring up the college world series or my stats, he shows me his state championship ring, so he’s got that battle.”
The best-stocked trophy case in the family, though, belongs to sisters Adelynn (23) and Molly (20), the older of whom won four national dance championships at U of L. The younger sister already has one national title and is still a Cardinal.
Even so, the boys challenge the ladies’ dominance.
“My family is a whole family of dancers,” Boomer says. The girls get in on the battles. I think Sutton might be edging me out, but I like to hip hop dance. I’d argue that I’m still the best dancer of the family.”
With the constant struggle for relative supremacy in the background, Boomer Whiting’s jump from three-year A-baller to bona fide Triple-A leadoff man loses its shock value. All Boomer Whiting was in search of was a little competition.
“I was one of the older guys [at Potomac], so I felt like I was ready to play at the next level,” Boomer said. “I was ready for a change of scenery and be challenged at some of these upper levels and see if I really could play at these upper levels.”
“You’re playing the best of the best here. As an athlete, that’s what you want. You want to compete against the best, play against the best and challenge yourself.”
Join us tonight from Harbor Park starting at 6:45 with the On Deck Show. You’ll here from former and current Chief Justin Maxwell along with Luis Ordaz. Tune in via 620 AM or at sportsradio620.com.
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