Column: Sports-specific advice for graduates

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Graduates, I’d like this to be the one piece of send-off baloney you get this weekend that isn’t utterly unbearable to sit through.
For that reason it’s a little less meaningful, but you’ll get plenty of that I’m sure.

Forgive me, speech givers, quote thieves and card writers, but I remember very little of what was said from my graduation weekend, both of them, mostly because it was all words standing in the way of my long-awaited escape from the awkward-prison that was Brad in high school.

Don’t let this writing stand in your way. Heck, read it next week if you want to.

I know this weekend’s festivities are all just a delay from that final exodus into real life, a freedom into things that matter.

With all that comes the maturation away from high school sports.

This year was the most I’ve paid attention to high school sports since I left high school, so I figure there’s nothing better to talk about than the evolution of a high school senior student-athlete into a college freshman/post-high school normal human being.

We’ve all seen that evolution fail, “I keep getting older, but they stay the same age…” Don’t be that guy. Please, please don’t.

Go watch Varsity Blues, the ultimate portrayal of utopian high school football set in the ‘90s and an example of how what’s cool then might not be real hip now. Do you really want to sound or look like Paul Walker or James Van Der Beek? Yep, even spelling “Van Der Beek” felt incredibly lame.

Hey, just go watch Fast and Furious 6 this weekend and see that Paul Walker is the worst thing that has happened to Hollywood since Christian Slater. Creativity in today’s movie world is explosions, pretty ladies and flashy cars running a ruse on your mind so that you completely fail to realize the terribly unbelievable storyline and horrendous dialogue. Paul Walker is so not cool.

Anyways, my point being, it’s important to remember, as you graduate from high school, to be sure and let go of that high school sports career.

Too many times kids allow high school glory (perceived and or real) cloud their potential as a real-life adult person. What you did on the playing field is great, and people will remember it even if you don’t remind them by talking to your friends about it all the time.

There are perfectly healthy ways to indulge competitive urges in college and beyond: intramural sports, rec. league sports, chess games in the park with old people, Words With Friends…competitive dancing on television, because that’s a thing nowadays.

Seriously, I live with a guy who is a six-time intramural league flag football champion at the University of Wyoming, and he’s doing great. I know there were some rules bent along the way, namely former Division 1 athletes who hadn’t yet sat out their required time to be eligible for amateur sports, but that’s one of the perks of post-high school sports — you can cheat.

You can be fat and slow, you don’t have to try hard every play, and they even let the boys play with the girls in some sports. In softball, they even start throwing underhand. Crazy, right?

Plus, it becomes more and more acceptable to channel that competitive juice into fanhood of national and collegiate sports teams.

Learn to yell at the television. Care too much. You would think that being more emotionally immature about your favorite football team’s loss as you age would be unacceptable, but, in my opinion, it’s actually alright if you maintain an inverse sensitivity progression. It will definitely impress Mrs. Right, when you finally meet her. Bears suck, Go Packers, end of story.

Just remember, those pesky things they call “jobs” quickly become more important than the circumference of your biceps and subsequent performance on the field of play as time goes on.

Who am I kidding, proper attention to one’s upper arm size is always important.

Look at Marky Mark. There’s always the chance that you pull a Vince Papale, work in a bar until the Philadelphia Eagles hold citizen tryouts and you invariably make the team and run back punts against the Dallas Cowboys. I mean, that’s not totally unfathomable, the Eagles have been real down and out lately, and maybe they’ll call you.

If that happens, call me. I’ll write a story about you.

Until then, go ahead and stay in college and enjoy not being in high school anymore.

By |May 24th, 2013|

About the Author:

Sheridan Press sports editor