Serving Franklin County, WA

What it takes

We are a couple of weeks into the football and volleyball season and fans can start to see where the experienced teams are and where those that maybe rebuilding will eventually end up. For those rebuilding it is a long road and finding the talent and willingness to make that journey means commitment by young athletes that want to be successful.

There is something else that happens this time of year that also takes commitment and time constraints. That would be the late season fairs that take place in our rural communities. For those 4H and FFA members it means that the hard work of raising animals and showing them at these fairs in order to make money to attend college is vital. What is really interesting to see is just how many of these youngsters are also playing football and volleyball for their local high school team. And don’t forget that a lot of these same kids are involved with the FFA judging teams as well.

To be honest, I’m not too sure just how many hours a day these kids have to take care of and work with their animal, hit the weight room, practice their sport, study for the judging teams, eat and sleep. But there they are come fair time feeding their animal and cleaning up after them and when it’s time to make practice they do their best to get there on time.

Most people don’t think much of it because their kids don’t have an animal at the fair. Hey, I understand I didn’t show animals either. I’m just impressed with these kids’ understanding of time management and how they make it happen. We also need to understand not only what it takes to make a decision to participate in a sport but sometimes know when to call it quits on a sports career.

For some it comes down to not loving the game anymore, Others realize that they need to concentrate on school and the things that they will be doing in the future. These are not easy decisions because oftentimes it means not participating in a competitive sport with friends that you enjoyed playing with as teammates. The excuse I really don’t like to hear but is said a lot, “Well we aren’t going to be very good and I hate getting beat.” I get it but the real winners are the ones that despite the challenges of a talent pool won’t let their teammates down by quitting before the first practice starts.

For some schools FFA is a big deal and for others it might be Future Business Leaders of America or FBLA. And of course at some schools there is a crossover where students do both. Again that extra time involved outside the classroom or practice field or court will tell a lot about young person’s character. Remember not every student lives three minutes from school. There are plenty of students that can live 30 minutes from the school’s front door. These are definite challenges but for those that are involved with the organization a great deal of confidence and understanding can be very helpful throughout life.

I know one person in particular who was voted captain of the football and basketball teams and FFA president who overcame the jitters of speaking in front of others and embraced talking to a large group of people. The confidence gained through sports and extracurricular organizations can be helpful down the road. But a young person needs to take advantage at the high school level because these opportunities will pass by quickly.

We all have dreams of being pro athletes, rock stars or Hollywood actors but at some point in time reality will kick in and we will need to adjust our goals and just be the best person that we can be. If our plate is full with a number of things like sports and other extracurricular activities time management will be very important. Maybe the decision will be to focus on the one or two things that we are really good at rather than trying to do everything. But if you have what it takes to succeed in several activities and not burn yourself out then getting it done while you are young can be an exciting journey.

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


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