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Press Box for 10/21

By Ed Parsons - Editor | Oct 21, 2020

We’ve 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.

Sixty years ago I was in grade school enjoying every second of every day, time to us then was meaningless. The days seemed to last forever. During school hours we studied and played. We had good days and bad, but the best part of everyday (except for lunch break) was play period, and in later years physical education, and gym class. You all remember those days! Some of you are older than I am, but I know you have those memories.

Those years passed by quickly, how did it happen? Sports and school activities were a big part of our lives. It seems like yesterday that I was playing basketball on the outdoor court by the high school and time meant nothing. You just knew it would never end! However it did, and time started to move faster. From high school to adult life, just what they warned us about. It was a quick transformation that we knew was coming, but didn’t expect to cover 50 years or more in the blink of an eye.

I am one of a few who stayed local most of my life. I’ve watched as kids have come and gone on the local sports scene. I watched as they grew from T-Ball to high school and beyond, from grasshopper basketball to skilled athletes. I’ve seen some great ones. I have seen those who just played their hearts out for their schools, and I’ve seen some play who didn’t want to, but were committed enough to do so anyway, so they could have a team. Time changes a lot of things, today we still have committed athletes, maybe not as many as in the past, as more opportunities exist today, but time will still go by, and the choices kids make today will be their memories tomorrow.

Last year I took in a few grade school games. I enjoyed watching those kids as they tried so hard to get the ball up the court, how excited they were when they got a hit during little league and how excited they got when they threw one up and it sank through the basket. It makes me think back on past days who my teammates where and who the coaches were. You all reminisce! 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 when I was about 14, it seemed like everyone was putting pressure on me. I had a great middle school 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 dedication, hard work and how to treat other people. He had genuine desire to help kids better themselves, a rare quality in people today. One of his favorite quotes was the old familar “treat other people the way you would want them to treat you.” I liked that, but soon found out it doesn’t always work that way.

Another favorite coach of mine was a Little League baseball coach who is no longer with us. He left an impression on my life. He wore a big smile on his face, a happy go lucky guy who just had a good time helping us kids. If I had a child playing sports today those are the kind of coaches I would want teaching them.

They didn’t do anything special. They didn’t perform any miracles. We didn’t win all our games, but that didn’t really matter and it doesn’t matter today. What means the most is did you make good memories, did you learn life lessons along the way, and are you a better person because of your participation in extra curricular activities.

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. 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.

As I look back over the years I 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

Every community 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.

We were young, we enjoyed life and we knew things were good. There was very little jealousy, everything was about school pride and teamwork. Time has gone by fast. I remember so much, such as the great Steelers’ teams of the past, the great Pirates’ teams, and I still remember the great high school players.

Nothing much gets me more excited than a big Mountaineer game or going to the state high school tournaments, (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 nor your children will regret it.

From the pee wee leagues to the high school teams, I often tell 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 today, but time still goes on, so make the most 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 here. Basktball and wrestling 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. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com