Excuses Don't Belong in High School Sports Competition

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 24, 2003 | Go to article overview

Excuses Don't Belong in High School Sports Competition


Byline: Bob Frisk

Although I don't like to hear any young athlete offer an excuse for something that went wrong, I do consider the age.

If you're an alibi-making 8-year-old, for example, I am not happy to hear your words but completely understand your need to say them.

"Mom and dad, the sun got in my eyes, and that's why I dropped the ball."

"Hey, coach, the ref made a bad call. That wasn't my fault."

While such excuse-making is not pleasant to hear, it is a common psychological defense mechanism for someone that young. I can tolerate it.

However, I don't accept any excuses from high school athletes or high school coaches.

Hopefully, by the time the young athlete has reached high school, he or she will have learned that such behavior is totally unacceptable.

If these alibis aren't stopped early in life, they may carry over to the time when the athletes start making excuses about why they're not playing.

Coaches also should know better. That comes in Coaching 101. No excuses.

Reporters look with disdain on any coach who starts his postgame news conference with, "I don't like to make excuses but ... "

I wish I would hear that same coach say, "We got a couple of big breaks on no-calls we didn't deserve."

Nearly everyone has excuses in our wonderful world of sports, but most aren't worth anything.

You can find lots of reasons why you can't do something. As long as you find those excuses, you don't have a chance.

Everybody is going to have problems.

Everybody is going to get knocked down.

Everybody is going to have difficulty at some point in their sports life.

The proper response to that difficulty is what's vital.

You can only be successful if you get rid of all the excuses on why you can't do something or why you may not have been successful on that day.

We have a gigantic weekend ahead of high school sports competition with the IHSA state girls tennis tournament at Prospect and other area sites, final regular-season football games, Class A boys soccer sectionals and Class AA regionals, boys and girls cross country regionals and girls volleyball and girls swimming.

There obviously are going to be tense moments that could easily lead to some type of excuse. I can only hope we don't hear any after the competition.

In fact, I would like all our athletes and coaches to take the pledge on this day in October.

"I will not make excuses. I won't verbalize them, and I won't even think them."

That pledge then should hold up for the rest of your high school career. …

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