Editorial: Saluting high school athletics

Jan. 09, 2014 @ 11:30 PM

Throughout the past year, the N.C. High School Athletic Association has celebrated 100 years.

And while a banquet ceremony Saturday night may be a climax and finality of the planned events, it in no way ends the celebration. Far from it.

When a student chooses athletics as an extra-curricular activity, opportunities will flood their lives. And they will last a lifetime.

Skills for a particular sport are practiced and refined. In some cases, there is far more practice than actual “game” performance. But the life lesson is taught daily, that to improve requires commitment to the task at hand. Often called hard work, the practice routine also teaches a foundational approach to any goal.

Relationships begin before the choice is made to join an athletics team. Each member comes from varying backgrounds, families, perhaps even areas of the community. But they arrive together, and instantly are transformed into a team with all those raw characteristics in tow. As they get to know each other, from moves on the field to likes and dislikes off it, relationships grow and evolve. And so very often, the end of the season or even high school careers does not end the relationships forged.

Teaching never stops in high school athletics. Whether it is an X and O concept, how to handle the variables of competition, or a life lesson, the coaches dedicated to their sport are regularly teachers first. For many on the high school level, that was an appeal — to be a teacher, to share with others. Well worn with clichés and advice, coaches’ words may repeat over time but the truth in the refrain is golden, truthful knowledge.

Competition is not the be-all and end-all for high school sports. While champions may be crowned through wins and losses, each student who chooses high school athletics is an immediate winner. And will stay that way for life. Each sport, just as with each coach, uniquely offers more than just a game to the participant.

The NCHSAA has long been a supporter of our high school athletes, governing and enriching the experience of sports and school. We offer congratulations on a job well done, and offer a wish for many more years of continued success.