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I dreamed a dream of sports gone by

POSTED: November 23, 2013 3:52 a.m.

I have been privileged to witness some exciting sporting events in my short career as the sports editor for the Barrow County News. I have witnessed close calls and quick comebacks. I have seen cool catches and cruel kills (in volleyball). It has been a fun time.

However, in all of that, the greatest thing I have seen has not been in a court of play or a grassy field. The three-pointers and the hail marys have been exciting, but nothing like the greatest joy I have experienced so far in this job.

Easily my favorite event to cover so far has been the signing of student athletes to their future colleges. I have seen two softball players and a wrestler sign with schools for the chance to keep playing the sport they love, and I have to tell you folks just how great a sight that is.

There is a fervor in youth to follow dreams that some of us either lose later in life or maybe never knew when we had the chance, but these young adults have fought tooth and nail for the right to follow their dreams, and they ought to be applauded for it. While I was never athletic enough to go to college for a sport, I can say that attending UGA was my dream, and I am thrilled to have lived that dream out. Now I have new dreams, and knowing that I achieved one so great as that in the past has helped me to believe I can do it again.

That is the same optimistic hope I wish for these young students as they embark on a four or five-year journey that will in many ways define the rest of their lives. What a privilege that must be for them!

Some of you reading this may be high school students or younger who have a similar dream. If you haven’t been paying close attention to the articles I’ve written on these young athletes, let me recap for you. The key to making it where they are is hard work. Sure, talent goes a long way, but not nearly as far as your effort will.

It takes effort and it takes a good measure of restraint. All three coaches I have talked to about their future athletes have said the same thing. One of the main reasons they looked at that student was because of their proper behavior and attitude outside of the gym or the field. They are interested in finding good people, not just good athletes.

The best thing that you can do for yourself is to work hard and do right. Be good people, then be good athletes. If you can’t be a good person and a good athlete, make the wise choice.

Some of you reading this are well beyond high school or college, but you still have a dream you want to follow. What’s stopping you? The effort? Some perceived lack of talent or skill? Forget that. Forget those roadblocks you put in front of yourself and go after what you want. Become who you want to be.

I know I am making it sound easy, but you and I both know how far from simple this task really is. It could be the hardest thing you’ve ever done to break away, make a change and follow a new life, but it that’s because it’s worth it.

I leave you with this final quote that a good friend of mine put on Facebook a few days ago that made me think long and hard about what I am doing with my own life, and I hope it lends some thought to each of you today.

Ernest Nightingale once said, "Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." At least I assume he said it. You never can tell with these internet posts.

I don’t mean to get philosophical or morbid with you as you read this over your Sunday morning coffee in your flannel pajamas at the breakfast table (assuming you read this in the 1950’s on a Sunday morning), but there’s truth there. The time is going to pass us by no matter what. Would you rather grasp it and make the most of it, or would you let it pass by like a crowded bus saying, "I’ll get the next one."

Paul in the book of Ephesians reminds us to "Redeem the time, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." (Eph. 5:16, paraphrased) I could spend at least three columns or more talking about this phrase and the importance of the word "redeem" here because, well, I’ve done it.

For now, just ask yourself what you’re doing to redeem the time. These young athletes are making the most of their time and their days by chasing a worthy goal of self-improvement, both physically and otherwise. I won’t pretend that physical fitness is the most worthy goal in the world, but the cultivation of skill and the driving after a great goal is something to be praised.

So let’s honor these students for their accomplishments and let’s remember them as we go after our own goals and dreams. What are you doing with the time today? It’s passing by either way.

 

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