Here's To You

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It’s almost every child’s dream to live the fantastical life of super-stardom, pro-athleticism, or a stargazing pioneer of space travel. However, these dreams are, in most cases, unattainable. And when that child grows up and becomes a parent, it is all too common for them to realize that their efforts have become washed out. As a result, these people tend to live out their dreams vicariously through their own children, seldom ever thinking about whether or not that child truly wants the same fate that their parents once dreamed of.


Here’s to the high school jock. In his prime, he lived out his glory days as captain of the football team; basking in the splendor of high school athletic superiority and heart-set on becoming the next big deal. Those high hopes might’ve actually amounted to something had it not have been for the “life” factor, various details and detours in the path of living that could both permit or prevent such life-changing career paths. Maybe he made some mistakes, everyone does. Maybe he was seriously injured. Maybe he got cocky and became so full of himself that his teammates no longer wanted such an un-sportsmanlike player on the team. Or maybe he was simply just not good enough. The reason’s for the jock’s downfall, essentially, is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that when you jump ahead twenty or so years to when he has a son of his own, a son who, like his father, was also the captain of the football team, the father is likely to push and push and push the son to the brink of a breakdown because of something that he selfishly wants for himself, not his son.


Here’s to the jock’s son. In his prime, he lived out his glory days as captain of the football team but what he really wanted was to bask in the splendor of the high school stage. He loved to act, to sing, and to dance because it gave him the opportunity to become, for just a moment, someone completely different than who he really was. He used to love football for the game- the adrenaline rush before homecoming or watching his favorite pro team in the Superbowl. But as he got to be a junior and then a senior in high school, the pressure was laid on. “You need to think about the scouts coming,” his father would tell him, “You need to play in college and become a pro player like I always wanted,” he would continue. Naturally, this unwanted pressure, in addition to the stress of college and the ever-changing high school social norms, was very unappreciated and instead of enhancing the love of the sport, it did quite the contrary. Sure, the boy played, but it seemed like an undesirable chore to him, he would practice until his body ached and even then, nothing was ever as good as his father wanted it to be. He wanted him to be the best and nothing but the best. He wanted him to be everything that he, himself, couldn’t be. Eventually, the worlds of interest collide, fights erupt, and talents that could have been wonderfully molded into shape were broken before they could even begin to develop. Nothing great was ever accomplished.


There’s no “I” in team, that’s common knowledge. But when it comes to things like sticking up for yourself, enjoying what you do, and being yourself, there just so happens to be “I’s” in all of those. Numerous, actually. Parents shouldn’t live or relive the life they wanted or had through their children. Maybe if that father hadn’t pushed his son so far to be superior, then he might’ve become everything he’d hoped for. A little bit of pushing may help sometimes, but when it comes to sportsmanship, a little bit of encouragement can go the whole nine yards. So here's to you.





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katiemcd123 said...
Aug. 19, 2008 at 12:06 am
Loved the article...very insightful and thought provoking. It's good to take a step back and see the different pressures that athletes and students face on a daily basis.
 
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