SPORTS SPOTLIGHT — The Value of Athletics

For the majority, high school is the last time they will participate in organized athletics as a player, though many doors may open because of their passion for school athletics.

The value of athletics in our Lincoln County middle and high schools is significant and cannot be overlooked. It has a profound impact on individuals, the schools as a whole, as well as the Lincoln County communities these schools serve.

For the majority, high school is the last time they will participate in organized athletics as a player, though many doors may open because of their participation. For many ex-athletes, coaching is a terrific way to stay involved. Some of these successful coaches were no more than average high school players with both a passion for sports and an understanding of how the game was played, but lacked the star-level talent necessary to succeed at the next level.

Athletic programs serve as a powerful academic motivator for athletes who would otherwise underperform in the classroom. The good news is that schools require their student-athletes to maintain a commendable grade average to participate in athletics. Many students stay in school and keep their grades up only because of their desire to be on the team.

Our local county school athletic programs also serve as motivation for staying out of trouble. Athletes know that if they get in trouble, there is a reasonable chance that they will be removed from games or even the season. This does not mean that every athlete makes the best decision every time. However, the prospect of playing athletics has been a powerful deterrent to making wrong choices for many student-athletes.

Our school district athletic programs provide several benefits, including valuable life skills athletes will depend on throughout their lives. Those new skills overshadow the games themselves, and their impact can be powerful and transcending. Some of these assets are listed by author Derrick Meador in a Thought Company publication and include:

Effort is defined as giving it everything you have in both practice and games. Effort can overcome the lack of talent in many cases. A player who gives 100 percent effort is said to have heart. Life lesson: Give your best no matter what and you cannot question yourself in the end.

Hard work is the preparation you put into becoming a better player before the game is played. This includes strength and endurance training, individual practice time, and film study. Life lesson: Preparation is the key to success. If you work hard to prepare, mistakes are less likely to occur.

Self-discipline, the ability to maintain and carry out the role the coaches have determined within the game plan. This includes understanding your own individual strengths and weaknesses. Life lesson: Stay on task to get the job done no matter what distractions there may be.

Teamwork, the ability to work with others to complete a goal successfully. A team will only be successful if each individual fulfills their role. Life lesson: Working with others is an essential part of being successful. Doing your own thing can be detrimental and lead to many problems.

Time management, the ability to fulfill all obligations including practice, homework, family, friends, etc. Life lesson: You must be well-balanced and adept at handling all aspects of your life so that you are not overwhelmed and stressed out.

Parents should look at the value of prep athletics, and encourage their kids to get involved with team sports.

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