By Josh McCormack, intern
As soon as I could walk, my Dad had me in skates and on the ice at our local hockey rink in central Florida. From that time on played almost every sport under the sun. While my love of sports didn’t stick, having joined my high school’s newspaper my freshmen year, organized sports helped to mold me into the person I am today. I wholeheartedly believe that sports are significantly important to young people and their development.
Wade Smith, former NFL player, and Jayme Lamm authored Smitty Hits The Play Books, which tells the story of a young man who has to learn that while his work ethic, team work, and dreams are important, his education is as equally imperative. I can identify with Smitty as a young boy who is enthralled in the world of athletics and has to learn the importance of after school activity and schoolwork balance.
Being so young, I can hardly remember playing hockey, but what I do remember is learning how to skate. My Dad, a fantastic skater and hockey player, was eager for his son to follow in his footsteps. He began to teach me how to push and glide on the ice. Hoping to gain the approval of my hero, who skated as easily as walking, I trained long and hard. After weeks of practice I could finally skate, earning the satisfaction of having my Dad be proud of me. Learning to ice skate taught me that with hard work and patience come success and satisfaction.
When I was in the second grade, my Dad took my brother and I to go see the 2002 Baseball classic The Rookie staring Dennis Quaid. Leaving the theater I made it adamantly clear that I was finished with hockey forever and I was set on a firm course to become a pitcher at Yankee Stadium. As I began to play little league ball, I learned that there was a different dynamic to baseball than hockey. The team I was apart of had to run like a well-oiled machine for us to win a game. I understood that when it came to competing I was no longer the center of the universe. Playing baseball for the next four years imparted to me that I had to work with others, even if I didn’t like them. This idea of teamwork has stayed with me and has helped in every facet of my working life.
When we moved to Texas I found that baseball, while appreciated, took a back seat to the state’s real pastime of football. Entering the seventh grade, it was made clear to me that everyone who was anyone played football at McCullough Junior High. I wanted to be one of the kids who had the opportunity to be apart of a team. However, this was no easy undertaking considering the fact that I was then very short and stocky for my age. Nevertheless, I set my goal and worked towards it. At the beginning of my season I was given the position as center of the offensive line. Playing football taught me that even if your hopes seem farfetched, if you set your mind to accomplish them, most things are possible.
Throughout my childhood youth sports is one of the key aspects that have formed me as a young man. Without them, I would not have a great work ethic, no idea of teamwork, and a lack of ambition. As your kids run out the door this summer to play sports with their friends, pick up a copy and have them read Smitty Hits The Play Books to learn one of the many life lessons that youth sports can provide.
Bright Sky Press, where Texas Meets Books youth development.