The Way I see it

The Way I See It!

 

September 23rd,2008

 

 

Hello all, well its' been awhile since I last put pen to paper and jotted down some stuff that I believe is worth writing about but in the past couple of years I have become quite concerned with some countries inside and outside of our region establishing elitist programs that only allow the athletes who have achieved a high test score to attend. Now before some of you get too excited please hear me out. I am not against elitism in fact I am for it. Without elitism and programs that promote the best getting to the top some of the best not only athletes but academics would never have been given the opportunity to reach the highest levels of their professions, I’m sure none of us would want to be in the operating room with a surgeon who graduated at the bottom of his class.

 

The problem I have with the elitism in the way it is being presented is that in some cases it has taken the game away from the average to mid-average athlete, which in reality is the majority of us. So how does setting up an elitist program based on testing take away opportunities from the average/mid-average athlete? It does this by taking away the opportunity for them to participate in high performance programs based solely on what their testing scores were. By using only testing scores as the basis for admittance to high performance programs the selectors are eliminating the athletes, desire, work ethic, passion and commitment to improving, these factors in my opinion maybe more important then scores from testing results.

 

In my opinion high performance centers should be open to all athletes who are willing to make the commitment to attain their highest level of expertise, not on testing scores. I am seeing more and more programs taking away opportunities from young players because at an early age (13 to 15) they do not display the testing results that are warranted for advancement to a select program, again don’t get me wrong I am an advocate of testing and the use of it to assist in the selection process but I am also an advocate of giving athletes the opportunity to play at a high level of competition regardless of what their testing scores are if the show the passion, commitment, desire and competitive spirit to participate in a high performance program.

 

There are a number of players in all sports and a number of academics in all professions that do not develop the necessary skills to advance until later in their age, an example of that is me. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I finally reached my potential as a baseball player, at the age of 20 years old. If I would have been from almost any other country in the world except the United States my baseball dreams would have been put away long before that time. You see in the United States athletes who demonstrate passion, commitment, desire and stick-toit-ivness are given the opportunity to chase their dreams regardless of their age.

 

I am often asked the question, why are the numbers for baseball dropping, well I can tell you that if the opportunities to play at a high level are taken away and the opportunity to pursue a dream is taken away then players will drop out of the sport and go elsewhere and in some of the countries in our region and the world this is happening.

All players need to feel they have a chance to reach for the stars and they should be given the opportunity to do just that as long as they are willing to demonstrate the motivation to do so.  Now how do athletes go about doing that? Well the answer is really fairly simple they do this by their actions not their words.

 

It is my opinion that all players who have the desire to be part of a high performance program should be given the opportunity to participate as long as they continue to show the passion, work ethic and discipline necessary for their involvement, this doesn’t mean that they will make a National Team because at the end of the day only the top players will be selected but what this type of approach does is open the door for the late bloomer to eventually rise to the top and in essence keep them in the sport of their choice for a longer period of time and in reality isn’t that what sports is all about, getting them involved, letting them chase their dream and keeping them in the sport to become coaches, officials or administrators not discarding them at an early age because they do not fit into the testing results that the selectors are looking for?

 

The next time you conduct a try-out camp for one of your national teams keep what has been mentioned in your mind and give it a try, keep the player who maybe a little short on ability around if he shows you that he has what it takes to come to the field everyday and do what it takes to become better, in the end you may find a diamond in the ruff, at least that’s the way I see it.