This is the second post on a series seeking alternatives to the uber-busy, sports crazed world in which we live. I encourage you to read the previous posts to get a bigger picture of what I'm trying to communicate here:
Get some PERSPECTIVE – High school sports are high school sports. Today a student told me it seems like you only have 4 years to be an athlete and you have the rest of your life to do other things. It was a “seize the moment” comment that at first glance seems so true. I’m reminded of one of my favorite movies, the Goonies, where Mikey says, “Down here, this is our time!” High school sports can feel that way; it can feel like everything that matters is RIGHT now, and you only have so long to live the dream. Let’s get some perspective. And for the adults out there, WE as a community need to help our young people gain perspective. High school is high school – it’s not the rest of your life! Praise God for that! If we all had to continue living the legacy of our high school personas, life would be pretty miserable. Well, at least for most of us! When parents, coaches, and students begin to over-idealize and dramatize the high school sports experience, we lose perspective. You all know the guy who can’t stop talking about the good old days in 1999 when the Millard West Wildcats won the American Legion Nebraska State baseball championship. Oh wait. That’s me! I can easily morph into that guy. And I’m not saying it’s all that bad. But I’m working on gaining perspective. It saddens me to hear students and parents talking about high school sports as if they’re the greatest years a young person could ever hope for. After high school, it’s all down hill from there. No way! That's a lie. And it's not fair to put that on kids.
A second comment on perspective, and this one might be harder to swallow. Not every kid is a superstar. Not every kid can, will, or even wants to play beyond high school. According to College Sports Scholarships.com, the percentage of high school football players, for example, who go on to play in the NCAA is 5.7%. From there, the percentage who go on to play professionally is 1.8%. Those aren’t encouraging numbers. Let’s get some PERSPECTIVE. Let's allow high school sports to be an experience that builds character and integrity, where students learn how to be teammates, how to be accountable to others, and how to think about someone other than themselves.