Craig Editorial Board
- Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
- Jennifer L. Grubbs, newspaper representative
- Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
- Allan Reishus, community representative
- Chris Runyan, community representative
- Ken Wergin, community representative
There has been some grumbling of late around Craig about summer high school athletics camps. While these camps are called voluntary, they often are closer to mandatory for athletes who want to make the team come fall, and that rubs some parents the wrong way.
Right or wrong, here are some common complaints: These camps cost money; they take teens away from enjoying their summer; they make it hard to plan family vacations; the team is just going to lose against a Front Range school anyway; the camps increase the level of pressure put on student athletes; the summer camps should not be necessary to compete in school-year sports : and the list goes on.
Yet, in spite of all these gripes, why is it such a terrible thing to ask student athletes to show their commitment and seek to get better? How can they not benefit from the practice and example set at these camps?
While it may not be mandatory to attend these camps to play - and not everyone does - a coach is going to build his or her team around the most dedicated and competitive players possible. Those are often the ones who practice as much as they can.
The coaches have to set the tone for the team and the camp; they have to lead and inspire their young charges toward greatness, on and off the field in athletics and in life.
Being on the varsity team, earning a letter, has to be evidence of something more than just showing up, paying the participation fee, and turning in a physical form. The student athletes who donate summer time to getting ready for the season are showing themselves and the coaches that they want to earn that letter, or at least work toward making varsity in a year or two.
It's no different in high school academics, or in grown-up life at a job. If you want to advance, you put in the effort outside of regular hours.
As for complaints about costs, that is just part of the price of supporting a student athlete's dreams. While it may cost us hundreds or even thousands to send a student to summer football camps, imagine how much is spent on training by any one of the athletes at this summer's Olympics. It's just a cost of competing and working to get better.
One of the ways we learn is by jumping out there and seeing whether we swim or sink. If we swim, we need to find ways to go faster and get better. If we sink, we need to learn what we can from the experience.
However, no matter the outcome, our role as parents, teachers and trusted adults must be to support our teens in positive ways. We must be there to console them if necessary, or to cheer them on.
That's how we foster healthy attitudes toward competition and realistic expectations for attempting something; that's how we build up work ethic, character and strength of commitment.
And in our book, that's never wrong.