Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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July 11, 2014

Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

Athens — Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.

Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.

I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

The 7:30 a.m. practices will test you in ways that will make you proud to step on to the football field or the volleyball court. It will also make you proud when you hear the roar of the crowd when you do something special during a game.

As you prepare to wrap up your summer in three weeks, I am getting ready to embark on my 14th year of covering high school and college sports across Northeast and East Texas.

With that in mind, I lay out a challenge for you guys this season: Listen to your coaches, and use your talents to the best of your abilities.

If there was one thing I wish I could have done when I was in high school, it was trying out for teams and  having the work ethic to play sports.

I tried every sport when I was in middle school, except for baseball and golf, and quickly found out that God did not give me the talent to succeed on the football field, the basketball court or on the track.

Sure, I was not the greatest athlete, but I would try to do my best, and help the team when I played. The work that I put in was difficult at times, but I was my worst critic, and decided I did not want to spend high school not playing a sport and letting people down.

It did not consist of the fact that I did not try to be a good athlete, but God wanted me to take a different path in life.

If there is one thing that I have learned in my 14 years of covering sports, it is that the coaches always want what is best for their athletes.

That is another thing that impresses me about the interaction I have with all of the coaches in our coverage area.

These coaches will make it a point to stress the fact that the success of the team is equal to the sum of its parts.

You will never hear a bad word from the coaches about how the team has played, because above all else, they want to give them something to build on once they walk across the stage for graduation after their senior year.

We have some amazing students around Henderson County who will give everything they have to make everyone around them better.

I hope our athletes do not take the game for granted and center their play on individual accolades. The honors will come for some athletes, but the success of the team is based on the play of everyone involved.

Bruce Lee once said, “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

You may not think the work that you put in during the offseason will help the team out, but once you see the success it will all pay off.

I cannot wait to sit in the stands or walk the sidelines and see if you took advantage of the challenge that I have laid out.

It could be one of the best life lessons that you have learned in high school.

So with that being said, it is time to wake up and make this day one that you will never forget.

Joe Elerson is the sports writer for the Athens Review. He can be reached at

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