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2012-07-19 digital edition

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2012-07-19 / Sports

What Price to Win?

by Mike Organ

In today’s sports world, what does it take to win as an athlete?

It takes year round participation in the sport. You are either competing or working on improving the skills needed to excel in the specific sport. Long gone are the days when you just played the sport in season and then moved on to the next sport.

Not too long ago, youngsters could play school sports when in season and then take the summer off to recover. The rural kids would work in the fields or with their parents during the day. Some students would play in a league or on a ‘select team’ made up of people from the community for recreation. The local Community League baseball teams are a perfect example.

Now parents pay fees to coaches whose sole job is to recruit and train ‘select’ athletes in the sport of choice. $1,500 is not an unusual price to pay in this pursuit of excellence and the opportunity to play at the next level.

High School athletics are the same. The two or three weeks of camps in the summer and daily trips to the weight room or track are necessary for the current athletes to remain competitive. They have to be equally as strong and skilled in their sport as the opponent. There are some naturally gifted athletes that will excel at the high school level. They will not be able to continue to excel unless they are willing to put in long hours of skill building and conditioning.

The NFL has found that teams will even put bounties on certain opponents, trying to knock them out of games so they may have a better chance to win games. The “hit” that would put an athlete out of a game could be the one that ends a career. Is the winning of a game that important? In our society it has gotten to be that way.

Today the politically correct thing is to give everyone a participation trophy for just showing up. Kids should be happy to have competed and played with their peers. Now everyone has a trophy to show they have participated. How cherished are these trophies or certificates? You sometimes find them in the trash at the site they are awarded. Back in the day, trophies, medals, and ribbons were given for winning. Most of those awards are still findable.

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