Editorial: Lessons learned in high school sports

  • Frontier reacts after scoring the final point in the fifth set against Rockland to win the MIAA Div. 3 state championship Saturday at Worcester State University. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Published: 11/19/2019 12:50:19 PM

Congratulations are in order for the Frontier Regional volleyball team who won the MIAA Division 3 state championship.

Remarkably, this is the 10th time the team has achieved that honor since 2005, in what we would characterize as an outstanding run. And this season’s final game, played Saturday at Worcester State, was a thriller with the winning point scored on the fifth set against Rockland High School. Go, Red Hawks!

Athletics are a big deal for many students. Here is an opportunity for those who are sports-oriented to play on a team, and if it works out, do their high school proud with a winning season and perhaps a championship.

Certainly, we have had local teams qualify for postseason play this fall and keep on going. That was the case for Mahar Regional School girls soccer team, which made it to the Western Massachusetts finals, and Mohawk Trail Regional’s cross-country runners, who qualified to compete in the state meet.

But many teams do not go that far despite the best efforts of the players and coaching staff. And that is one of the many lessons high school sports can offer. Not every team can win. But that shouldn’t stop players from doing their best.

Here are some others:

Teamwork: Yes, some athletes are more talented than others, but without everyone contributing and working toward a common goal, a team won’t likely go far.

Spirit: That means more than just being proud of one’s school, but being a good representative, including sportsmanlike behavior during a game or meet by keeping one’s emotions in check and using good judgment. Of course, that applies to behavior outside school.

And on that topic, we praise those schools that involve their students in community service projects such as Pioneer Valley Regional School’s student athletes filling gallon-size “blessing bags” filled with essential and personal items to be delivered for local homeless shelters.

Fairness: Inevitably, there will be bad calls. People will sit on the bench when they’d rather be on the field or court. A player will have an off game.

Hard work: Practice doesn’t make anyone perfect, but it makes for a better player and team. Who doesn’t admire an athlete, student or otherwise, who succeeds despite adversity?

Commitment: That means showing up at practice and doing one’s part.

Respect: Students need to recognize the authority of their coaches, officials and others. They need to be coachable.

Balance: Athletes are students first, and it takes commitment and time management to keep up with one’s studies as well — great preparation for the time demands of adulthood.

Emotion: Learn to win with humility and lose with pride.

And, above all, have fun. Go teams!

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