No Respect This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     I believe athletes should be praised whether they win or lose. I have played sports just about my whole life and competing can be one of the most grueling experiences. Most do not understand how much time and effort is needed to improve.

I play football and we do not always have a state championship team, but every day from 2:30 to almost 7 p.m., we pour our guts out. I live in Louisiana, and if you have ever been there, you know the weather isn’t too nice. On a typical day the temperature can be 103()() and yet we still work hard to get better.

Last season we only won four games and were seriously put down for that. People at my school seem to think that when we lose, the school loses. If the team wins, though, then the whole school wins. It doesn’t feel very good after a Friday-night game knowing how hard you practiced only to end up losing. That’s not even the worst part, though: when you get back to school Monday, everyone wants to tell you how badly you played. To me, that is incredibly disrespectful.

I don’t see how people can talk about the team or an individual’s performance when they have never touched the field. Our football team could be great but most of our best athletes are walking the halls. When we ask them to join, their excuse is that they don’t want to play for a losing team. These people are actually a big reason why our team isn’t very good. Man, what a team we could have if those who complain actually did something to improve the situation!

Regardless if we win or lose, I think our efforts on and off the field should be rewarded, if even it’s just an encouraging, “Man, y’all played hard, go beat Benton next week.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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