As I have written over the years, sports have been an important part my life since I was 10 years old. Now 61 years later, sports continue to be an important part of what I do. Honestly, I do not not watch much NFL. College football is fun to watch, but I am no longer a “couch potato,” watching sports.
Pinning me down, Ohio high school sports is my thing. High school football is my favorite. As a player, only two things held me back from being a good player – fear of getting hurt and lack of talent. Just a little humor here. What I did not lack was competitiveness. Still have it, but do not use it as often.
Different faces. Different colored jerseys. Different skill levels. This Friday, the first football scrimmage begins for many of the high school teams in Ohio. First game for some schools is Thursday, August 29. Now the competition begins. Now the drive to win comes out in each players mind-set.
One of the first qualities that I look for in a football player is “does he compete, or is he competitive?” Any time I evaluate a prospect, regardless of sport, “does he compete?” Football is the sport that I really watch for this.
Of course, I see the measureables, and, yes, they are important to college D1 coaches. I watch for the athleticism and the football skills. Overall attitude is important to me. BUT, most important – ” does he compete?”
Football players who are looking to play on the next level, regardless of what level – D1, D2, or D3, just have to compete. They have to have the drive. They have to sell out. They have to make plays. They have to finish plays. Offensive/defensive linemen have to make plays, as well.
“Dirty play” or “blind side shots,”or “helmet to helmet hits,”or ‘late hits,” do not fall into the category of competing. Simply no place for these actions in high school football. In fact, I make a note and tell college coaches of the negative actions of players.
Not so sure that trash talking should not be on the list above. I know it is the new culture of football, but trash talking often leads to more problems during the game. Officials can “slow” the amount of trash talking, but I doubt that they can stop it – period.
I have change my thoughts on “celebrations.” The NFL is a joke. I mean- grown men acting so silly. But that is not going to get better. Colleges do a better job of eliminating excessive celebration. Celebrating in high school is okay, as long as it is limited. Officials have to be consistent and fair. Short and sweet. Stay out of an opponents face.
Years ago, I came across the cliche’. Competitive maturity – Mature as a competitor. I love this quote. However, actually practicing the quote, probably took me fifty years to finally do it. Although I do not compete as often as I used to, I try to show maturity when I do. Politicians – not so sure.
As high school players, regardless of sport, begin this school year, you simply have to compete. You have to be competitive, but show maturity. Most of all, you owe it to yourself and your team. I could mention: school, parents, coaches, friends, but it comes down to you and your team.
They very best to all high school athletes as they begin the fall season. Most have been in competition for a while, but the ” big stage” begins soon. Hard for a high school athlete, perhaps, but please show maturity as you beat your opponent. Sounds a little silly, BUT not being silly.
Somebody will notice just how hard and how mature that you compete. College coaches will find out.
The best to all high school athletes.