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Perspective adjustment

Due to a career advancement, we currently have our head girls basketball coach position open here at Creston Community Schools. If you follow our Panther girls, you know we have several talented student-athletes at CCHS and more coming along, so the cupboard is certainly not bare! However, we do not currently have a teaching position open to attract many qualified, experienced coaching candidates. That makes it difficult. It amazes me I have received so much input and advice on the hiring of this coach. It is a good thing folks are interested in and passionate about our programs and want the very best for our local youngsters. Every individual has approached me politely and respectfully, as well. It is understood many life lessons are learned in athletics including hard work, teamwork, putting the team above self, learning how to compete, handling both victory and defeat, respecting others and the list goes on.

On the other hand, in my career I have received very few calls or emails from parents concerning who we may hire as a new science teacher, math teacher or fourth-grade teacher, for example. My point is, our priorities and perspectives need to be adjusted in my opinion.

Many know that I coached several sports on the high school level for many years. I absolutely loved and benefited from competing in sports in junior high, high school and beyond, myself. Our own kids actively participated in many sports from little league, all the way through to the college level. I thoroughly enjoy sports, but I also appreciate and enjoy a ton of other things in life including what I do for a living here at school and in our community. My faith is also extremely important to me. As passionate as I am about certain teams, rodeo and other athletic endeavors, there’s more to life than sports. I have never received a paycheck that included any indication or note about my personal best time in the 800 meter dash or how well I may or may not have played quarterback in high school.

Our society tends to be so focused on sports. Again, I love sports, competition and what those experiences can teach, but I worry many kids believe they can not be as successful as others because they have not excelled in athletics. Many dream of the day their child earns a full-ride athletic scholarship to college. Truth be known, there are very few, true “full-rides” offered for athletics. Much more scholarship money is doled out for a combination of excellent academic performance, good character, community involvement and active participation in a variety of other groups, teams and clubs like Scouts, 4-H, FFA, area programs in the arts, etc., as well as sports. Many local churches also offer financial boosts to their collegebound members. Being well-rounded yields strong results in terms of overall development and, as a bonus, college scholarships. We need to make sure kids understand there are endless passions to pursue and achievements to which they can aspire regardless of their athletic skills or abilities. Each and every person has gifts that need to be identified, nurtured, developed and utilized for the benefit of the individual and everyone around them.

Today our news includes news, weather and sports. Why doesn’t it feature news, weather, and art, or agriculture, or science, or medicine, or the environment, etc.? Our national, international, and sometimes statewide news is so dominated with politics and violence, with little recognition of positive stories or advancements. Fortunately, our local news media folks share a much higher percentage of positive, uplifting stories and accounts of prosperity. Many of these give our youngsters local examples of what they can accomplish someday.

Ultimately, we will get the best basketball coach available hired, and that is truly important to us here at school. Meanwhile, we will continue to do our best to keep our focus on student learning, academics and on the development of well-rounded young people. We must continue to encourage and push our kids to be active, to be involved and to participate in the broad range of activities our school and community offer. As always, we’re all in this together! Go Panthers!

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