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Local Sports

Column: Reaching out grows programs

Grow a program. Grow tradition. Grow pride. Grow respect. Grow sportsmanship. Grow confidence.

It’s all connected. No one likes to lose. But in athletics there is a winner and a loser.

Those teams and schools which play hard but fair and respect each other on and off the field of competition are winners no matter what the score. Players, coaches and fans who play the blame game or resort to jeering the other team instead cheering their own team come out losers.

Be a winner. Reach out and help grow a program. The program you help build could be athletic or it could be the band, the art club, the forensic team, the science club.

Reaching out to grow a program starts from the top. Seniors on a team should extend a hand and say “come be a part of our team. We’ll help you learn to do things correctly. Have fun.”

Be leaders. Not by yelling and pushing people around but by teaching and guiding people toward goals. Coaches are not the only ones who can teach in athletics. Teach the right lessons and pass it forward.

Grow pride, respect, confidence and tradition in each other and in the program. You do it and it inspires the next person to reach out.

Be role models on athletic teams and in the classroom. To have the opportunity to compete, athletes must get the job done in the classroom. I recently heard a coach tell his players not to forget to do the work in their classes during the next week leading up to the next game.

Coaching is teaching. Coaching is not just about teaching a sport. It is about teaching young people to be good students and good citizens.

Grow a program.

To do that is not just up to the players. Coaches are the teachers in athletics.

They too have to reach all their players and bring them into the program and show they have confidence in the players as the players learn.

Yes, experience is important but players can’t get experience if left standing on the sidelines during practices or games. Expect the best and people will give you their best.

Communication is a core product of growing programs. Keep the lines open to all levels.

Parents and family, yes, you help grow programs also.

Respect the coaches and players. You may not agree with the coaches but respect them. Grow confidence in your children participating.

Be good examples of sportsmanship and pride.

Fans come to CHEER for their team. There’s no need to belittle and use inappropriate language to jeer the other team and officials.

Have pride in yourselves as fans and in your school and community. Represent in positive ways. Help build programs at your high schools that are respected, win or lose the contest.

Over the years of my sports journalism career I’ve heard a lot of people talk of growing a sport from high school sports and youth recreational sports to sports such as hunting. I remember a group of hunters in Kansas which held a special youth hunt. The group encouraged experienced hunters to mentor youth into becoming lifelong, responsible hunters.

We all need to help grow programs, traditions, pride and sportsmanship.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets

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