This may come as a surprise to some people.
Sports have played a major role in my life as far back and I can remember and continue to do so to this day.
No, that isn’t the surprise.
What may come as a shock to some, coming from a person who makes his living writing about youngsters competing in high school sports, is that it is my firm belief that no matter how important you may think sports are the first task youngsters should be concerned about is getting an education.
Two things happened last week that made me realize a lot of kids already understand this concept.
Last Monday night, it was my assignment to attend the spring sports awards program at Goshen High School.
After taking the pictures of all the award winners, my task continued on Tuesday with typing up the list of winners to go with the photos. It occurred to me that a large number of boys and girls were receiving recognition on the academic side of things by either being named the Kiwanis Scholar Athlete for their grade or earning a Kiwanis Scholar Certificate.
Fifteen members of the softball team were honored for academic achievements, 23 from the girls tennis squad, nine from the boys golf team, 43 from the girls track and field squad, 58 from the boys track and field team, 26 from the baseball team and two student athletic trainers.
That’s a grand total of 167 kids who have gotten the message that excelling in academics and athletics can go hand in hand.
The second thing was an interview with two of the nicest young ladies you would every want to meet in Haley and Madison Schrock.
The twin sisters are recent graduates of Northridge High School where they excelled on both the basketball court and the softball diamond. Besides all their success in athletics they achieved 3.98 grade point averages on a 4.0 scale.
The reason for the interview was the Schrock sisters are going on to Bowling Green State University to continue their education and softball careers.
“You really have to manage your time to be successful in multiple sports and the classroom,” Madison Schrock said. “There are times in the summer when you are at a softball or basketball tourney instead of being with your friends and there are times during the school year you’re doing homework after practice instead of hanging out with friends.”
The good news is things like this can be said about every high school in our coverage area. Goshen and Northridge were just fresh examples in my mind.
On a slightly different subject it also crossed my mind at the GHS awards program how many memorial awards that are given in honor of people I have come into contact with.
The mental attitude award for boys is in honor of former Athletic Director Paul Underwood and the girls in memory of former teacher Barbara Zook. I can remember attending GHS sporting events and seeing Mr. Underwood there in his official capacity as well I can recall sitting in Miss Zook’s English class.
There is also a Beets Hoke teamwork award.
Mr. Hoke was another one of my teachers. There are lessons he taught me in civics class that are still recalled today.
Carl Weaver, former GHS track and field coach, presented the teamwork awards.
“Perhaps no other coach in Goshen history exemplified what it meant to be a part of the team as Beets did,” Weaver said. “He could have been a head coach at Goshen or any other school and he would have been a great success. Instead he was satisfied with being an assistant coach.”
In addition, there is a Jeff Jackson Memorial Award (baseball) plus a Brooke Doriot JV Award, a Nancy Moyer Freshman Award and a Jodie L. Clark Memorial Award (all girls track).
Jeff Jackson was the younger brother of one of my classmate Andy Jackson and Brooke Doriot was one of our classmates in the GHS class of 1975. Our class has raised money over the years, mainly through Nelson’s chicken barbecues and we annually award a scholarship to a deserving GHS graduate Nancy Moyer was a couple of years behind me in school but I got to know her through working with some of her friends during my days at The Olympia Candy Kitchen. Jodie Clark was an athlete I had the opportunity to cover and in addition her father Rick Clark was one of the first coaches encountered in my early days in this business.
The two lessons in this column are keep your priorities in order and you may never know until you look back some day just how many people influenced your life and how they did so.
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