A Moment To Reflect On School Sports

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With the PHS football season ending awards ceremony just over the horizon (6 p.m. Nov. 29), perhaps it's time to do a bit of reflecting on school sports.

I have no idea to whom to credit these thoughts, but they certainly make for worthwhile reading:

"A football player is a wonderful creature -- you can criticize him, but you can't discourage him. You can defeat his team, but you can't make him quit. You can get him out of the game, but you can't get him out of football. Might as well admit it -- be you alumnus, coach or fan -- he is your personal representative on the field, your symbol of fair and hard play.

"He may not be an All-American, but he is an example of the American way. He is judged, not for his race, nor his religion, but by the democratic yardstick of how well he blocks, tackles and sacrifices individual glory for the overall success of the team.

"He is a hard-working, untiring determined kid doing the very best he can for his school or college. And when you come out of a stadium, grousing and feeling upset your team has lost, he can make you feel mightily ashamed with two sincerely spoken words -- "we tried."

A boy's idols

Here are some thoughts that I do know who wrote them. This was penned by Tabor College (Hillsboro, Kan.) football coach, Stu Brynn.

"When I was 6 years old, I idolized two boys older than I by five and seven years. Both had all the makings of fine athletes. I watched them constantly as they caught a pass, hit a baseball, made a basket and I pictured the day when I would be like them.

"It thrilled me to catch a pass thrown by them, a ball pitched by them, or retrieve a basketball shot by them.

"My day was made when they would say ‘hello' or simply nod their head in my direction. They were my idols. I longed to be an athlete just like them.

"I grew and they grew.

"I watched and listened as they bragged about cheating in school. I absorbed all their ways of cribbing on exams. The hidden answers written on the palm of the hand, the half-opened book on the floor.

"I listened as they told of how they took it easy in practice sessions; how they refused to block for a teammate they didn't like; how they chewed Dentyne and rubbed their hands with aftershave lotion so the coach wouldn't know they were smoking.

"I listened as they called their mother ‘old lady' and their father ‘old man,' as they called this teacher and that coach something else. I listened as they spoke of church and God being non-existent.

"I listened as they swore. Man, they were the greatest. They were my idols. I longed to be an athlete just like them.

"I grew and they grew. I became a man. Suddenly, I saw my life in perspective. I wondered about my idols. Surely they were successful. Surely they were All-Americans. Surely they were pillars of their community.

"I searched and I found them. Alas, both had given up struggling to establish themselves as plain ordinary people. They had set no records, achieved no goals, set no world on fire.

"Once I worshiped them. Now, no one in the community gave them a second look.

"Then I wondered, could some young, aspiring athlete have idolized me? Had I led them down the same trail I had followed? Had he longed to be an athlete just like me?

"My parents: Could I ever repay them for the sorrow and anguish I had brought them? My teachers and coaches: Could I ever befriend them? Other people had suffered because of me; could they ever forgive me? The young aspiring athlete; could he forgive me? Where is he now?

"They have grown older and so have I.

"I am a parent. I love my sons deeply. I want them to love God. I want them to serve man. I want them to be athletes.

"My son will watch and listen to you because you are athletes. You will wear the (Purple and Gold). Many other sons will watch you and listen to you. You are their idols. They will long to be athletes just like you. You will grow and they will grow.

"Someday you will have sons. Perhaps my sons will be their idols. Your sons will want to be just like them."

Recruiting realities at PHS

Bob Chmiel, a former Notre Dame recruiting coordinator, is scheduled to present "The Realities of College Recruiting," a program free to the public at 8 p.m. Nov. 29 in the high school auditorium.

Chmiel, who also served as an ESPN sports analyst and has worked under legendary coaches Lou Holtz, Bo Schemblecher and Lee Corso, is associated with Jack Renkens the founder of Recruiting Realities. As the organization's founder, Renkens has written several books on the recruiting process. He says the goal of Recruiting Realities is to educate and motivate coaches, counselors, parents and student athletes in the collegiate recruiting process.

PHS athletic director is encouraging parents of all athletes attend the program.

Elks Hoop Shoot

The Payson Elks Lodge will be hosting their annual local Hoop Shoot, Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Tonto Apache Gym. This annual event is opened to all boys and girls ages 8 to 13, birth certificate needed at time of registration. Registration is from 8-9 a.m. in the gym.

Winners of each group will move to our district shoot held in Sedona, January 2007. There will be a prize drawing for all participants. Mark your calendar now for this exciting event which only takes place once a year.

Should you have any questions, contact the Payson Elks at 474-2572.

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