Play More Sports … Become Better in Yours

From the Sidelines

When I was in High School back in the stone ages, sports became a way to meet new people, compete, have some fun, and to learn a little about life.

I played football and threw the shot put on the track team. God knows they didn’t let me run, it would take a sun dial to time me!

Anyway, once football season was over, I started preparing to throw the shot. I would lift weights, work on form, and generally try to learn how to do it better.

I am convinced that my first love, football, was helped by my track team experience, and that is why I am stunned that some coaches only want their athletes to play one sport year round.

I have no idea how it started for sure, but I believe it may have something to do with professional sports.

You see it on the television all the time, the pro football player, baseball, basketball, pick your sport athlete, works out year round to be the best in their sport.

Somehow, this thought process bled down into the High Schools and to some degree in colleges, that in order to succeed, you needed to concentrate on your sport.

I understand that thinking for professional athletes, but High School athletes? Professionals are just that, professional…they are paid to play that particular sport.

They want to be the best, and in their contracts I am sure there are limits as to what they can do in their off time. This also has to do with the professional getting hurt.

I understand that completely. If I am paying someone millions of dollars a year to play for me, I don’t want them hurt in the off-season because they went sky diving and broke an ankle and will miss part of the season for me. That makes sense.

High School athletes play because they want to, and asking or telling them that they can only do one sport is wrong.Take any two High School sports and you can see how one sport benefits the other.

In my case, throwing the shot put made me stronger in playing football, and made me a little more explosive off the ball. Playing basketball and then running track would add endurance for basketball athletes, and so forth.

All sports pretty much interconnect somehow, so limiting an athlete to just one seems to be pretty self-defeating. If you watch the best High School athletes, you will see that 95% of the time they are at least 2 sport players.

So, if your High School still has a coach that insists that you or your young athlete concentrate on just one sport, consider not listening to that advice.

High School is a time for young people to be…well, young, and enjoy their time playing sports. They are full of energy, and want to be around their friends.

The real advantage though is they will learn things from another sport that will help them with their chosen one. Let them play as much as they want, and they not only will be a better athlete, they will become better, well rounded people……and we can use a lot more of that! That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines.

Commissioner Mike Stegall

Mike Stegall / Correspondent

Mike Stegall is a GHS alum and played on the Green Wave's only undefeated football team. Served 27 years as an OHSAA football official and currently serves as a Darke County Commissioner

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