The True Value of Athletics


The True Value of Athletics... 

            According to NCAA statistics, roughly 3 to 7 out of every 100 high school athletes gets a chance to play sports on the collegiate level. Of those 3 to 7, only 2 will receive some type of athletic scholarship. Among college athletes, roughly 1-2 percent will ever play professional sports. This puts the odds of playing sports from high school to college to the pros at less than 0.5%.

            The vast majority of kids in our community are not playing sports to someday make a living. So why should they be playing sports at all?

            Sports teach our kids how to lead and how to follow. Great teams are filled with leaders and followers. Not everyone can be a quarterback or a captain, but the best teams are blessed with the perfect mix of both. Many talented groups have fallen to lesser talented teams.

            Athletics teach perspective and sportsmanship. Every great player faces failure. Games and seasons and life are filled with highs and lows. Teams that overcome keep their highs from getting too high and their lows from getting them down. Real winners do so with class and humility.  Real winners move on from a big loss and work harder for the next game.

            Sports teach our kids that there are events beyond our control. Life is not fair. Good kids get injured. Bad calls can result in a loss or sometimes a win. A lifetime of success has more to do with how you recover from those bad breaks than how many bad breaks you actually get.

            Sports teach both discipline and sacrifice. Practice is hard and never as fun as competition. It takes discipline to make early morning workouts and summer conditioning. Life is about choices and athletes often chose to sacrifice their leisure time to get better. Being a team player is often a personal sacrifice.

            As a parent or fan, it can sometimes be easy to lose perspective. Positivity is difficult in the wake of defeat. We all want our kids to win and to succeed every time they get up to bat or serve a volleyball. Who doesn’t want state championships and parades around the courthouse square?

            Unfortunately, every Friday night, half the teams lose. State championships are few and far between. Regardless the outcome, we should be proud of our kids, our coaches, our administrators, our parents, our teachers, and all of the volunteers who help our kids to grow through sports. They work hard and certainly they all want to win. On a good day, they will.  On a bad day, they deserve our support even more.

            Maybe it’s really our job to keep their lows from getting too low.

            Until next week, sting ‘em.

-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at


wise, kind, practical reality
By Stan Venable
October 01, 2014
I read your commentary on the lessons in young life experienced through athletics, following a trail that started with a moron's pontifical rant on Llano Newswire. I only hope others read your thoughts. I've seen enough of your writings to understand you're thoughtful and genuine, and this is no exception. I won't presume this came from a simple interest in countering a prejudice and shortsightedness founded in ignorance; rather, a support of a lifelong education in character. Thanks...