Byline: Bob Frisk
Freshmen can be overwhelmed during their first days in high school.
They receive so many instructions from so many people that they probably wonder how they'll remember everything.
I'm here today to tell you that some things do stay with you for a long time.
Even 52 years later, I remember something that was said in one of my first team meetings as a freshman athlete.
I heard it from one of our senior captains, who was asked to say a few words to the nervous freshmen sitting on the locker-room floor and looking up in awe.
As freshmen, we looked up to the seniors even when we weren't sitting on the floor. When they spoke, we listened. They were our heroes. They were varsity lettermen. That was our goal, our dream.
This senior captain made the few obligatory comments about hard work and discipline and listening to your coaches, and then added, "Above all, don't let your emotions dictate your clear thinking."
I recall those exact words even today in 2002. That was a pretty mature statement coming from a 17-year-old athlete in 1950.
I didn't think that much of it at the time, but I have seen many situations develop through the years in high school sports where I wish the people involved would have stepped back and said, "I can't let my emotions dictate my clear thinking."
I also wish those same people would have tried to examine the situation from all points of view before expressing their anger.
Game situations often can be analyzed in different ways.
Let's assume your son or daughter is in a basketball game against a decent opponent.
The score is close in the final minutes, and your coach has been substituting freely while trying to find the right combination of players for down the stretch.
After a timeout, the decision is made. The coach sends out five players to finish the game.
This is when emotions come into the picture from all sides.
This is when everyone has to understand that emotions do affect your point of view.
This is when you have to be very careful not to overreact.
The parents of one of those kids not selected are angry that the coach took out their child. How will my child, they ask, ever develop a sense of self-confidence and poise in a competitive situation? Hey, coach, my kid can't learn anything by being on the bench in this critical game.
The parents are upset. The emotions show.
That kid on the bench, who insists it's not fair to be sitting there, wonders what it takes to be accepted for pressure situations. Wasn't I playing well? Why is that other kid playing and not me?
The kid is confused and upset. The emotions show.
Meanwhile, the coach knows it's an impossible situation. …