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From Left Field

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By The Staff

Know your role

I’m going to expose my inner geek right now and use a quote from the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

When it comes to team sports, I have to sympathize with coaches who are placed in delicate situations. Sure, every parent likes to see their kid play and every kid wants to play. Now I know we take our Lincoln heritage pretty seriously in Washington County, but let me state for the record, that not all are created equal - at least not in an athletic sense. If we were, I’d be playing Major League Baseball right now.

Youth leagues such as Upward provide a place where kids can get some playing time. But that luxury comes about because parents pay for their kids to play.

When it comes to competitive school sports, things change. They take on a more serious tone, and suddenly priorities shift from making sure every kid plays, to making sure you field the best team possible.

Now I know that some costs are involved for kids to play competitive sports, but it’s not like you have to write a check before your child can suit up. The Washington County football boosters do a great job of making sure all kids from families, whether or not they have deep pockets, have the proper equipment before setting foot on the field.

Some private schools charge a separate athletic tuition apart from their regular school tuition. Now those kids better be able to play and play well!

There are three different seasons during a particular sport. There’s the major portion of the regular season, then there’s the home stretch of the regular season when teams enter district play in Kentucky and are vying for position in the playoffs. Finally, there are post-season games in district and regional play.

When it comes to setting yourself up for a strong stretch run and doing well in the post-season, there are a limited number of spots available on the field or court. That’s just the way things work out. If your child is one of the lucky ones to be a top player, then your child’s hard work will be rewarded, and some natural ability has to play a part in that.

However, when someone’s child is suddenly benched because they are not one of the best players for the team, then some feathers get ruffled and irate parents start complaining that their kid didn’t get to play.

But there’s a reason why the team has a coach. Coaches must do what is best for the team, not what is best for each player. Let’s face it, sometimes players have to suck it up and take one for the team - literally!

Everyone on the team must know their role and be comfortable with it. Not everyone is going to be the star player. But every link in the chain must work together to pull the load, even if that means riding the pines and simply supporting your fellow teammates to do their best.

This is also not the time for players to pout about not playing. Injuries do happen, and if the coach needs someone on a moment’s notice, it’s up to that player to be mentally and physically prepared to play.

Just remember that the low man on the totem pole supports the rest of the structure and without that support, everything comes tumbling down.