This year, the interest has picked up. I've lost count how many times I've been asked who's on it. (For the record, it's a secret until it's revealed). At this point with just the top 2 spots left, you can easily guess who is left on it because I go in descending order from the 12th person to the top.
When I pick those 12, that's it. Mind you, when they are picked, they are picked in May. It does not take into account whatever summer workouts/games players may have done to otherwise earn a spot in their starting lineup.
I have been asked what factors into picking the 12. Well the first prerequisite is that they have to be a Senior - you can only be on it once. If that wasn't the case, Jason Barber would easily be on the list - Jack Abraham would give a run for his money to be up there too, but they are both Sophomores right now. This is not like the Clarion-Ledger's Dandy Dozen for each sport where they pick the 12 best high school athletes regardless of grade although that is where I got the name from. Next year, I will pick 12 for the Class of 2015 - and that will not be easy. Right now I have a list of 24 I'm watching for next year's Seniors. I don't want to imagine 2016 when they come up - that list is already growing beyond 12.
The next factor and probably the biggest factor is that how does this player contribute to their sport or sports. If the player contributes a lot in more than one sport, that greatly helps their chances in making it. It is likely that player would receive college interest as well because of their contributions and that also factors into some of the decisions being made.
The next one is to attempt to make it as evenly divided between Boys and Girls - and to that degree, it hasn't been that way with the Girls. Not because I'm biased or a sexiest, but because there is simply not that many Senior Female athletes the past two years like there has been in the past. Part of it is that more guys participate in sports than girls - and Football is the main reason. A rather good ratio should be 2 boys for every girl (making the total makeup 8 Boys and 4 Girls ideally on the Dandy Dozen) on the list simply because football has 70 Varsity members on the team and Volleyball has around 15 Varsity members - it is just uneven and will always be that way. Both years I've done it I have only had two girls on each list, I want to increase that number and it will next year as many good female athletes are in the Class of 2015. The main reason for the low number is the low number of Seniors that have been on the Girls Varsity teams the past two years and the high number of Seniors in the Boys Varsity teams in that span. (In Girls Soccer, there have been just 3 Seniors on a team that has 30 or so Varsity members on it and in Baseball there has been around 11 or so on a roster that has 29 members on it just to give an example as to how lopsided it has been the past two years)
The last one that I try to do is making sure every sport is mentioned. This past year I think I failed on that regard. Among the sports I left out were both Soccer and both Basketball teams (which for Basketball in itself is a shocker) - although beforehand I had one for Boys Basketball would later decide to quit in favor of his dominant sport. I also did not have any for either Softball teams, Swimming (normally for not knowing the classifications of those on the team), Boys Cross Country (mainly because of the lack of Seniors), and the Golf Team - who usually doesn't have that many members to begins with. This year I had 6 for Football, 5 for Baseball, 2 for Volleyball, 2 for Boys Track, 1 for Girls Track and Girls Cross Country. Had several on the Powerlifting team usually due to being on the Football team. Now that obviously doesn't add up to 12 because a few athletes do a couple sports or is a tri-sport athlete.
This year was harder to pick 12 out. I had about 18-20 student athletes that had a legit shot I believe of making the list, not only that but I was having trouble picking out a No. 1 because the parity of talent at the top was not that far apart - which is why I will be making out an honorable mention post before I release the No. 1 athlete in the Dandy Dozen.
I am hoping by the next time I do this, I can get some help (adult help) and have a system in place where I am not the only one picking out 12 student-athletes that deserve to be mentioned. There are opinions out there and right now only 1 opinion is in place and that is mine as to who makes it and who doesn't. Some have taken it rather well joking around about making it a "Bakers Dandy Dozen" (which is 13) and having their name slip in there and some rather hard that shouldn't be taking it as hard. I like every Oxford athlete and all I want is to make sure they represent Oxford well when they leave OHS and excel in whatever sport or career they decide. (Take for example Sam Kendricks)
So if you do not make it, don't fret about it. I only have room for 12 to make it. I consider every athlete someone who will contribute and in my hope more than what I thought when the season starts and the make for a special season is there. Oxford is fortunate to have as much talent as it has every single year to win Championship after Championship - not Region Championships but State Championships. It will continue to be that way as well.