We have all heard the expression “time flies,” but as a young person it doesn’t sink in until it’s often too late. The older you get, however, the more you realize how quickly your life passes you by.
It just seems like yesterday that I was in grade school enjoying every second of every day and time was meaningless. We played all sorts of games, but the best part was always physical education and later on gym class. I’m sure you all remember those days! Some of you are older than me, but I know those memories linger.
Those years passed quickly and it’s now 55 years or so later, how could that happen? Sports has been a big part of my life. It seems like just yesterday that I was playing on the outdoor court and time meant nothing. You just knew it would never end!
I have watched as kids have come and gone on the local sports scene. I have watched as they grew from T-Ball to the Majors. From grasshopper basketball to the collegiate level. I have seen some become great players. I have seen others who just played their hearts out for their schools. That’s why this column is about time. Oh how fast it goes by.
When I went to a few grade school games this year, I enjoyed watching those kids as they tried so hard to get the ball up the court and how excited they got when they threw one up and it sank through the basket. It makes me think back on days gone by, who my teammates where and who the coaches were. You all have those thoughts! I loved those days and tried to make the most of them. Some days were good and some bad. I think I first started getting nervous at when I was about 14 and it seemed like everyone was putting pressure on me. I had a great coach at the time. I don’t think he knew the most about sports, but he sure did encourage me. He taught me a lot about kindness and he had genuine feelings for kids. His name is not important and he was not well known. He didn’t stay long at Paden City, but I will always remember him. He, along with my high school basketball coach who is a great guy that you all know, took me to my first state tournament in Charleston.
Another one of my favorites was a Little League baseball coach who is no longer with us, but he left an impression on my life that I’ll always cherish. He always had a smile on his face, a happy go lucky guy who just had a good time helping us kids. These guys made a lasting impression on my life. They didn’t do anything special. They didn’t perform any miracles. We didn’t win all our games, but none of that really mattered and it doesn’t matter today. What they did do was teach us things we needed to know, they were not mean people but caring people who not everyone liked but nearly all respected. I see a lot of that today. I also see some great kids today but just as it was in my age there were some not so good coaches and some pretty ornery kids.
I can name a lot of athletes that have come up through the years and have gone on to be very successful. Some have become high school coaches, but most have had children and raised them to be great kids. I have the utmost respect for coaches at all levels. These are the people who we put our faith in to teach our kids how to not only be athletes, but also good citizens. We entrust them to do what’s right and for the most part they do; we just don’t realize it.
I look back over the years and remember some great teachers, coaches and community leaders. I remember factory workers, doctors, business people, church leaders and pastors, coal miners and past athletes who put in many hours volunteering their time to make our communities better places to live. It was like that in every community in the valley. There are many of you doing the same thing today and I applaud you. Keep up the good work
Everyone wanted to be the best. Each town had pride in their families, in their homes and property. Friday nights were the best, especially during football season. It was the talk of the town. Basketball season meant games two to three nights a week and an opportunity to fill the gym.
Back then, we had pep meetings where the coaches fired up the student body with talks of support and often the athletes would speak. The pep band played and the cheerleaders cheered. Everybody was on the same page and there were very few problems.
We were young, we enjoyed life and we knew things were good. There was very little jealousy, it was about school pride and teamwork. Time has gone by oh so fast. I remember so much such as the great Steelers’ teams of the past, the great Pirates’ teams and yet, I still remember the great high school players.
Nothing makes me any more excited than a big Mountaineer game or going to the state basketball tournament, (boys and girls). Volleyball has become one of my favorite sports. But time is running short, each year seems to go by faster and faster.
I still love watching a good ball game. I get excited and just like some of the ones I often write about I get a little rowdy. To me though, it’s all in fun. Parents, my advice to you is to encourage your kids to do something and support them in whatever it may be. It will go by quickly and you won’t regret it.
From the pee wee leagues to the high school teams, I tell the kids to make the best of what you to. It will be over before you know it. Seniors that I am watching this year will soon be moving on and entering a new phase of life. It seems like yesterday they were freshmen.
I have always liked to help kids. I like to see them do well. I want them to be successful. It won’t be long until they will be parents and grandparents. We live in a different world than what I grew up in and many of you grew up in a different time than me. But one thing we all have in common, time goes by quickly, so make the best of it. Spend time with kids. Be one all your life you won’t regret it. Sports has kept me young at heart, I can’t do the things I use to, but in my mind I am still a youngster.
Soon and I mean very soon, winter sports will be over and spring is near. Baseball, softball and track will be the news. Some athletes will soon be gone and others will take their place, it’s a cycle that occurs each year. Give it your best and cherish every moment never let anyone take away your youth no matter what you do. Make good choices and carry them with you all the days of your life.