I had a visit this week at my office from School Superintendent Dr. Chris Roppe. I’ve known Chris a long time, ever since he roamed the sidelines as an assistant football coach under the tutelage of the late Neil Graham.
As is usually the case with Chris and I, our conversations escape the confines of the superintendent-newspaper editor relationship and go on a side track to talk about sports. That’s a topic both of us gravitate towards as our backgrounds — his as a former athlete and coach, and mine as a former athlete and sportswriter — meld into the mutual appreciation for an interest that has had an indelible influence on both of us as the adults we now are — athletics.
During our conversation he mentioned how much he had learned from his coaching experience that has helped him in his journey as an educational administrator.
I, too, was a high school coach in my distant past but not long enough to learn the life-skills that Chris and other former coaches have used to improve their performances beyond the area of whistles, and Xs and Os.
But my almost obsessive involvement in sports as a young man has served me well over the years, putting into practice the commitment, the work, the dedication, the focus that comes with being an athlete into the life’s work I’ve chosen to pursue.
There are many out there that dismiss sports as a frivolous waste of time when young minds are being honed for the future.
Chris and I, and many other former high school athletes, would beg to disagree.