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The Press Box For May 31

By Staff | May 31, 2017

I saw that this past week while watching the Tyler Consolidated Boys Baseball team go down in defeat to Wheeling Central at Wheeling’s 1-470 field. It was a loss in the region one finals with a berth to the state tournament on the line. The Knights had already had an ultra successful season with 20 plus wins and a sectional championship heading into the tournament but even with the loss they are still champions to Silver Knight fans.

The boys Tyler Consolidated’s baseball team showed great character, and that will last well beyond the playing field. The Knights coaches also demonstrated great discipline and leadership. Coaches have a unique opportunity to be mentors for their players and positively impact them in many ways, they did just that during the entire season. The Knights finished the year with a 20-7 record, not bad at any rate.

I witnessed over 150 contests this year and overall, Tyler Consolidated and Paden City by far had better sportsmanship than any other schools I witnessed. Somewhere along the line our school officials and parents are doing something right.

You have all heard me complain about bad sportsmanship, but this year has been extraordinary on the positive side. A few bad moments here and there but nothing major. No brawls, no fist fights, none of that garbage. Good effort, good coaching and great fan support and from that we see positive action.

I like winning, but as I’ve said before, winning is a by-product of so many things, if you value winning as the ultimate goal and don’t or can’t win, what can you use as a positive take from the season? So how do you define success in a high school program? Think back to someone who mentored you and helped shape you into who you are today, my guess would be that person is either a parent, teacher or a coach! Coaching at the youth or high school level should not always be about just winning games. It’s also about developing the kids into young men and women of great character, who will go out into the world and become are future leaders. It’s about teaching the players the lessons of hard work, respect and what it means to be a team player.

Winning is great but it just isn’t everything! Kids have to learn how to be leaders, they have to learn to be problem solvers with the ability to resolve conflict the right way. I think our kids here locally are learning those things. To put it modestly we have great leaders on both sides, coaches and kids.

This has been a great year for our schools. We have had ups and downs, however, I feel like the coaches are doing their jobs, especially when the kids have fun and learn about the sports they are playing. All of our coaches and kids have worked their tails off to win because that’s what competition is all about. Isn’t that what we want out of both the high school participants and the coaches we’ve hired to provide that experience? Yes, it is! We want them to be winners.

We all know very few kids will become professional athletes, very few will make it to Division 1. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t winners. Losing is never a fun experience but the best way to handle it is to get up the next day and go right back to work.

Winning is so much more than the score. As an athlete your focus should be on competing, competing with yourself to improve, with your teammates in practice and your opponent in games. When the game is over you might or might not be victorious in terms of the score, but if you compete and give good effort, you are victorious in so many other areas.

I like good coaching, but good coaching is not always about winning. It’s more important to teach the game and teach it right. For example, teaching a kid how to play a zone defense may win a game but the individual players never learn how to guard their opponent one-on-one. I like coaching that teaches the whole game, including how to handle disappointment. A good coach will set the example, he or she will be gracious in defeat and humble when winning.

It’s hard to lose, I don’t think there is an athlete or coach anywhere who wants to lose but everyone must learn to lose. It’s a part of life that will make you or break you. I saw several parents who posted the athletic and academic awards their kids earned this year, there are just so many ways to be victorious besides winning a ball game. I think it is great when kids excel in the classroom. Parents have a right to be proud of the performance of their kids, it shows discipline on the part of each of them.

Sacrifice, hard work, dedication, respect, lead to success on and off the field. Tyler Consolidated and Paden City schools are leaders among the other public schools in the state and for that they are to be commended. We have excellent leadership from our superintendents on down.

I had one parent tell me “The coaches didn’t seem to upset” it was not said in a positive way. I don’t know what he expected, should the coaches have thrown a fit and went into a rage?

Listen if coaches get into the habit of using winning as a measuring stick, everything else that kids can learn on the field to be successful in life is lost. When the only thing coaches and players are concerned with is winning, it sets up for massive disappointment. What if you lose?

From my perspective this year has been a fun year in local sports, we have had great success on and off the field and our kids have learned a lot of life lessons. I have said it before and here goes again, we have the best kids and coaches in West Virginia right here in Tyler Consolidated and Paden City High Schools. As the old saying goes “We’ll get em next year.” eparsons@tylerstarnews.com.