Letter: Success in Athletics and in Life

 

The editor:

Like many others, I am looking forward to the start of another Red Devil year and seeing our Red Devils in action. As I wait in anticipation, we need to remind ourselves of some simple truths. 

First, we all want to see our Red Devils succeed, but more importantly, we want to see the development of players with character. I want to see them win games and perform well, but winning games and competitions cannot be the ultimate goal. There is an opportunity for these students as they face both success and adversity that will grow them as human beings with good guidance. These athletes have been thrust into the position of role models. They are learning to work as part of a team. 

Second, we need to remind ourselves that these are impressionable players. They are learning about being adults. Some have come through things we would never be able to comprehend. They may drop passes, miss assignments, and make mistakes. However, this does not give spectators license to shout derogatory and obscene things from the stands. “Catch that ball.” “Hold on to the ball.” That’s what they’re supposed to do? (Sarcasm intended.) As a former football player, I can recall when people would yell nasty and unfair things at our players and coaches. “I bet money on you.” “I could do that.” “What kind of call is that?!” "What a bunch of losers!" I would add that a significant number of these coaches put much effort into building up and investing in these students. It is easy to voice an opinion, especially foolish ones, but we as supporters need to remember that these coaches, players, even officials, are human like us, and make mistakes. Let’s trade the knee-jerk reactions for a more encouraging approach that will encourage these players to fight through adversity, with our love and support. “We’ll get them next time.” “Hang in there.” “Here are some things you’re doing well.” 

Lastly, let’s teach them to love what they do. For me, playing football for the Red Devils was a dream come true. There were times that were very tough as a player. We learned when life knocks us down or we experience defeat, how we respond will speak to the type of person that we are. I am looking forward to this coming year. As a supporter of the Red Devils, I’ll do my part to see the Red Devils succeed not only in athletics, but in life. GO BIG RED. We stand with you.

 

Always a Red Devil,

Jake Patterson,

Clinton 

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