Serving Franklin County, WA


We all get asked about sports.

Can you compare this guy’s game from a bunch of years ago with this youngster’s game? So, if you go back 50-plus years, you would see there wasn’t much weight work. But then, there weren’t that many state tournaments either.

With some sports not having any playoffs, a team’s only claim to fame was to win the league championship.

It wasn’t until Title IX came into effect in 1973 that state championship competition expanded in the state.

We always talked about playing for a football title against one or two other teams, but that wasn’t to be.

Those days would have to wait four years after our class graduated.

For most of us, our way of getting in shape varied with bucking bales, moving sprinkler pipe and just general hard work on the farm.

Some ran each day or got to take a leisurely stroll through the summer fallow on a hot summer afternoon with a hoe in hand taking care of a few Russian thistles along the way.

There were no summer camps to speak of for basketball or football. Learning to block and tackle or shoot baskets had to be honed on your own in a driveway or front lawn with a friend.

If you lived in the country, you needed a good imagination and you chased down your own missed shot or punted football.

I spent a lot of time throwing a baseball on the old barn roof and catching it as it left the roof edge. I practiced pitching by throwing a tennis ball against the bunkhouse.

And I would practice retrieving grounders by throwing a baseball against the cement foundation.

Hitting was more difficult.

Not everyone lives near a park or ball field to be able to practice with friends. At one time, you could get a bunch of kids together and they would choose sides and a game would be the result. Oh sure, there were arguments.

But the competition and the chance to show just how good you were was really where the fun was anyway.

Athletes today have weight rooms to build strength and speed.

It’s one thing to go to the weight room, but it is more important to accomplish a goal each time you walk through those doors.

We didn’t have access to the gym unless a coach was around and since there was no weight room either going to town to play ball didn’t happen.

Now, there are local football and basketball camps in June. I think it would have been fun to play some basketball games against other teams this time of year.

We would have loved to have gone to a football team camp at a college anywhere.

There is great value in playing sports. Things such as leadership, teamwork and camaraderie are all beneficial in everyday life.

Honesty and sportsmanship are two other aspects that really should be emphasized.

I know the value of competitive sports and how it helped me through the years.

One certainly doesn’t have to like sports and doesn’t have to participate but if you like to play any game the time to do it is from 6-12 grades for sure.

Playing in college other than intramural ball takes talent, dedication and commitment and the ability to be happy not playing all of the time. And that is where the fun usually ends.

Kids who are the stars of their teams in middle and high school will be playing with a bunch of stars from other places.

That is when the competition gets fierce and where careers end.

How much better would I have been had I been able to go to the weight room or summer camps? Who knows?

But for those that have the opportunity to improve themselves, there is no time like the present to make it happen.

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].


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