Football players make sacrifices

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2001

Sports Columnist

Tonight the high school football season starts for Pike Liberal Arts School, Pike County High School and Charles Henderson High School.

Of course, the Trojans and the Bulldogs hit the field against each other at Memorial Stadium tonight at 7:30 p.m. Though it’s a Jamboree, or preseason game, it will have all the ingredients of a regular season contest for bragging rights of Pike County.

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3A Pike County opens its regular season next Friday night against powerful Eufaula in the Tigers’ brand new stadium. 5A CHHS collides with Navarre Beach High School of Pensacola, Fla., in

Troy next week.

PLAS, under new head coach Mack Williams, travels to Greenville to play last year’s AISA 3A state runner-up, Fort Dale.

Most of our schools in Pike County have been working out in the heat since June to get ready for the 2001 football season. Each player wearing that football helmet in their respective team colors have sacrificed an awful lot to get to their first football games of the season.

While they’ve been toiling in the heat, many of their friends have been sitting in their air conditioned homes drinking cold drinks and watching TV.

The young men wearing those colorful uniforms have committed themselves to be football players for their respective high schools and communities.

Football is not a game for every young man. The demands that football puts on a young man and even his parents is unlike any other sport. It’s a game that is physical and is played by physical athletes.

It’s a game that you shouldn’t play if you don’t have your heart in it. Those kids kicking it off tonight are the exceptions.

I think young men and women can benefit in life from having played sports. It teaches them commitment, work ethic, pride and leadership.

Each player hitting the field tonight has had a lot demanded of him by his coaches. Now it’s time for the fun to start happening. If it’s not fun and rewarding, football’s not the game for you.

I think the best thing that a coach can do to motivate his players is to acknowledge him when he makes a good play or he displays a lot of effort. Next to their fathers or mothers, a coach, in many cases, is the role model that players look up to. So coaches, please set a good example for your young men to follow.

Coaches, remember this; an encouraging word, a compliment, or oven a pat on the back, will make a player want to run through a wall for you.

Let’s let these young men know how proud we are of them for the dedication and sacrifices they’ve made for our enjoyment tonight. We can do that by filling up all the high school stadiums with football fans and giving them a standing ovation when they hit the field.