Letter to the editor

Dear High School Athletes


Reprinted from the October edition of the Prairie Tracks.

Dear High School Athletes,

If you are able to play a sport in high school, you are blessed. Class “AA,” Class “A” or Class “B,” it doesn’t matter…you are physically blessed and gifted, even if you don’t get playing time. There are other kids your age who can’t do what you can do. Some people have physical disabilities, some have to work to support families, some have bodies that were not built for sports, or some are just interested in other things. You are celebrated in our culture, and on a nightly basis all over South Dakota, people pay money to watch high school kids play sports.

Let that sink in... people pay to watch you.

Are you giving your best? In practice, in the weight room, on the field, court, track, course, mat, ice or where ever you compete…or are you giving your best on the bench? Did you prepare your teammates by giving your all in practice? Because the people paying to watch you play sports expect you to do your best all the time. You owe them that…but you are not playing for them. You are not playing for your parents or the small-town glory that high school athletics brings. You are playing for yourself and the guy next to you. If you are not giving it 100%, you are cheating yourself and everyone on your team. Just do your JOB as best as you can.

YES, IT IS A JOB! High school sports are the first job you will have. Be there on time, put in the many hours to finish a project, get better each day, and be a part of a team working to accomplish something. Then, reap the benefits of the win or learn from the losses. Sometimes jobs are fun, sometimes they suck, but I will let you in on a little adult truth. Not every day is “the best day ever.” Many days are just…put in the work; wait for the reward.

Sports in high school is a short season of your life, but it defines so much of your character. When you walk through the doors of your high school your freshman year, you only have four short years of athletics left in your life. Yes, some of you may go on to play college athletics, but the majority of you will hang up the jersey at some point in your senior year. There is no going back, and there is no do over. You can still be competitive in athletics after high school, but it won’t be the same. Cherish every moment, love your teammates and play hard for your coaches…even if you don’t really like them. Another adult truth here…. you won’t like every person you work for in life. Respect their authority and buy into their plan.

I’m going to ask you to do one thing next Friday night on the football field or the volleyball court or the cross-country course or whatever sport you play. In your next game, during a break in the action, take a look around you…soak it in and embrace the moment. It is a special fraternity that you are in…you are an athlete and for these moments, you are the star of your show. Lose yourself in the moment and give your best.

One last thing, to the athlete battling a season ending injury, I feel for you, but it isn’t over for you. Work hard to get healthy for the next season, the next sport or the next era of your life. Get in the weight room and stay there…. for the rest of your life. You never know when you will need to be healthy or strong for others, and it will build your character. There will be nothing you can’t face head on and conquer.

In the end, thank sports for making you better. Thank sports for teaching you discipline. Thank sports for bringing so much joy and pain into our lives. Thank your coach for investing in you. Thank your parents for supporting your activities. Respect the game and respect the officials and shake hands with the other team.

Your sports career is short; give it your all.

Tom Glanzer



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