High School Football Changing for the Worse? You Decide
Everyone knows that the National Football League reigns supreme when compared to other professional sports. However, college football is now turning into win-at-all-costs with whomever you can get. The unfortunate tale behind this story is that high schools around the country have fallen right in line with college programs.
I have followed high school football for the better part of my life on this earth, and I grew up in one of the most fertile recruiting grounds and talent crops in the whole country: Los Angeles, California.
In Southern California, high school football is played between the haves and have-nots. In recent years and seasons, it seems the teams and schools with the most funds, which are readily accessible for use in athletic programs, win on a more routine basis.
I was fortunate to have attended Loyola High School of Los Angeles, a perennial powerhouse and Division One title contender. Yes, my high school was a private, all-boys, Catholic institution. However, the football squad consistently put out a respectable product (think Joe Paterno at Penn State: good solid teams with an occassional great team).
But with the drift from the purity of high school sports of years past, the present has brought us recruiting violations, coaches paying high school students, and head coaches leaving for more money or greener pastures (think Lane Kiffin, or enter token head coach here).
This is high school sports, not the big leagues. Whether the coaches believe that to be true or not!
I understand that pride and the drive for success is paramount at high schools around the country, but the important lesson to learn in high school is not wins and losses; it's the teachings and attention to detail that your coach preached and stressed everyday at practice.
My high school was fortunate to have a dependable, respected disciplinarian who taught daily life lessons while leading a formidable football program, not for a few seasons before he found a new job, but for 29 seasons.
In today's society, high school football coaches have the desire and ego to be larger than life. Sure everybody wants to chase goals and their respected aspirations, but when the main objective becomes the number of wins one might accumulate in a career, that is when the game has become professional.
High School football in Southern California, and the better part of the rest of the country, has turned into a kill-or-be-killed mentality, and that is when the lessons and teachings of the coach are lost. Sure, wins are important for school pride, team morale, and financial gain, but I would rather have a coach that won or lost the right way rather than a coach that won at all costs and burnt bridges along the way.
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