I never planned on being a professional ball player. Not basketball, baseball, football or any other ball sport. I never aspired to greatness. I never even thought about playing college ball. It just wasn’t on the forefront of my thoughts as I practiced for hours and hours.
I was a generalist — I was good enough at almost any sport I played to make the team (but not start) — and learned to love each sport for its unique perspective.
I have to say, I never really heard of high school athletes going pro until many years after I graduated — it just wasn’t done.
Now it seems as though every professional sport has rules regarding the first age at which a player can become a pro.
As I’m around the athletes of Brookings-Harbor High School, I’m constantly reminded of my own sports upbringing.
I don’t think there are many athletes coming out of our high schools that will turn pro. I’m not saying they’re all incapable of doing it, but that it’s not likely to happen.
So what are high school sports good for?
For some athletes it is a means of attending college. Either because they couldn’t afford it any other way, or they wouldn’t go unless sports took them there. Or, if not a means, at least a way.
For some athletes, it’s a way of having fun with friends.
For all athletes it should be a step on the rock-strewn path to adulthood.
The challenges faced in stiff competition should — and I believe they do -— prepare athletes for the challenges they will face in life.
Learning to lose in the face of adversity and win with grace after overcoming all odds is something that is invaluable to human beings.
Sure, it can be found and taught in other venues but it is best, and most easily, taught in the sports’ world.
Most of life’s lessons learned as an athlete will come from a coach. This is one instance where the coach outweighs the parent in terms of teaching children.
The only thing coaches need to remember is that they are preparing future generations of leaders and parents and treat them as such.