One for Their Ages

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At the Battle of the Bay, the football game last week between Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar, I was reminded how much fun high school sports are.

In the grand scheme of things, that game might not have meant too much, but for those kids on the field and in the stands, it was an epic battle for the ages. Applause and cheers were met with boos and hisses as the teams took the field, and nobody could convince those kids to settle down.

As for the players, iat might’ve been the best sports moment of their lives, and who knows if they’ll ever see that type of fan support or be on that type of stage again.

A recent study done by Yahoo Sports showed that the two biggest states in the country, California and Texas, also produce the most NFL players.  Obviously population is a major factor in those statistics, and as it turns out, in California the per capita rate of NFL players is 1 in 175,163.

With those odds, it’s hard to be optimistic for high school football players about playing professionally.  For a lot of those kids, high school football is the end of the road as far as their competitive playing days are concerned.  There are only so many college scholarships to go around, and the kids that receive them are heavily scouted and vetted.

Personally, I played volleyball all four years of my high school career at a school that is always contending for a Division 1 CIF championship.  I remember the last game I played, in the CIF semifinals, and standing in the huddle during that last timeout when we were down a game-point.

It’s something I’ll never forget.

It suddenly occurred to me that that was the last time I’d ever play competitive volleyball.  I wasn’t going to get a scholarship and I wasn’t near tall enough to play in college.

That was the end of the road, but running out onto that court as my name was announced is a memory I’ll keep forever.

Who knows what the future will hold for those Sailors and the Sea Kingswho battled last Friday.

Perhaps some of them will go on to successful college careers, or maybe even the pros.

More than likely, the majority of those players will have that game and these years to look back on as fond memories, not resume builders.

Not that it will be an “Uncle Rico” situation, but you know what I mean.

If I had one piece of advice to pass on to current and future high school athletes, it would be cliché, but I’d say, “Enjoy this time, and don’t forget a minute of it.  Not everybody gets this chance, so don’t take it for granted.”

The glory days of high school sports will never be forgotten, and for some, it’s the pinnacle of their sports careers.

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