As a former four sports athlete I wanted to give everyone a deeper look into sports.
Today, I called my dad, who has been support system for as long as I could remember and asked him one simple question; "where does your son's drive come from?" The meaning behind the question has no relevance to you, but the answer has much relevance. He answered, in a round about way, "I don' know exactly where it came from, but you always showed it when you played baseball."
Ironically enough, today, I caught myself up on this season's Friday Night Lights, which for anyone who has not seen the show, chances are you were too busy actually at a high school game to watch it, you probably haven't (unless you are like me and have Tivo). Anyways, the point is, the show doesn't just take a look at the what happens on the football field on Friday nights, it also take you behind the scenes, into the coach's and player's homes and lives.
Now, if you were an athlete or you are currently an athlete, I think you can relate to this a lot more than those that weren't. But, the show illustrates the pressures and the glory of being both a coach and a player. But at the same time it also shows you how much the game can mold the player into a person. And that is where I am going with this today.
I grew up playing sports my whole life. Whether it was soccer, football, hockey or baseball (my passion), I always occupied myself with some type of sport. It is because of that, that I think I am the way I am today. People always ask me why I am always so laid back. Or let me give you another example. If I am sitting in the sports office with Jeff and Brian, and something exciting happens in a game, they are quick to yell and jump up in excitement. Now, there is nothing wrong with that because that is the reaction from the majority of sports fans, but not for me.
So, why is that? Well, I think that its because when I go back to how I played the game of baseball, (i refer back to baseball, because that is the game that I have played the longest, 15 years, and started playing at the youngest age, 3) I was always taught not to really give anything away or tip anything off in the batters box. So therefore, that has carried with me for as long as I can remember, but I played everything with a cool and calm manner.
So let me explain this even further. I am sure you have had coaches say that a game can mold a player into a person. Well, that is not cliche', it is for the most part is very true. You hear that a lot in football, but mainly because that is the "ultimate" team game. In any other majo sport(baseball, football, basketball and hockey) , you can get away with a great individual more than you can in the game of football. In football, everyone has to work well together in order for a team to be great. So with that you learn the values of family, communication and team work.
There is a cliche' saying that my football coach once said back in high school and you hear it every now and then depending on the sport. "Play your heart out for the next 48 minutes, and you'll remember that for the rest of your life." At the time you think, that is silly, but it really does stick with you.
So I guess I should get to the point or lets say the thought that I am trying to make.
Sunday, February 21st marks the first day of districts around the mountains. But for these athletes its not just about the games, its not just about winning. I know, we are media make it look like that sometimes, or most of the time, but that is never the most important thing. I mean, you have to remember that it really is just a game, whether you play little league all the way to the pros, you have fun, you do your best to win, but it is still a game. Its about making friendships with your teammates, its about road trips, and its about making memories.
So when you go out starting this week, if you are a player, parent, coach, or a fan, remember that yes, winning is important and good, but its the experience that makes it what it is. And what it is for most athletes, is some of the best times they will ever have.
So, to the players, go out and make memories.