What a great weekend for high school football in western Missouri. I love it when the west side of the state puts it on the east side.
For years I had to listen to the St. Louis coaches and ADs boast about the superiority of the east side in all high school sports.
Well, guess what? The last decade has proved out to be quite to the contrary. The worm has turned, and now the west side is dominating.
I attribute the turnaround to the great coaching staffs put together on this side of the state. The good high school programs are working hard 365 days a year to get the edge on their opponents. State championships do not happen because of luck. It takes a vision of the program and a willingness for everyone involved in the program to dedicate themselves to reach that vision.
In the past, the east side of the state had more raw talent. Those days are over. Programs are developing very talented players through year-long weight programs. There is a continuous conscious attempt to improve through summer camps and summer competition against other highly motivated programs. If you play the best, you can become the best.
The best games played during the course of the season were not played in the state playoffs, but rather played against local teams in non-conference and conference games. One of the most competitive games all season was between Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit West at mid-season. I could watch those two teams play 10 times and not get bored. There is no doubt they were the two best teams in the big class this year.
It is a definite advantage to play that type of competition in the regular season. It prepares a team to handle tough competition. It is important to risk an early loss in order to play tough at the end of the season.
That is exactly what Kansas City area high school football coaches are doing. They are willing to suffer a loss or two in order to meet their ultimate vision and goals. This new dominance is not luck. This new dominance comes about as a result of playing great competition week in and week out and having a commitment by coaching staffs and athletes to meet the vision of the program. The programs in this area expect to win state championships not just go to the state championship game.
I commend area communities for their support in building great football programs and their willingness to invest in the vision. Success is the result of full time dedication. I love a quote by American writer, Bernard Edmonds, who stated:
“To dream anything that you want to dream, that is the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do, that is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits, that is the courage to succeed.”
You have to have the courage to succeed and the work ethic to back it up. The bar has been set high by Kansas City area high school football programs. As they continue to challenge one another to do better, the standard should remain high for the entire state of Missouri.
• I hope the Royals are not finished with their quest to improve the 2014 team. The team is in desperate need of a hitter. We could trade any number of good relievers as well as Billy Butler – if anyone would take him.
• I have covered six college basketball games on the Internet this year and the new NCAA rule on fouls is making games go at least 45 minutes longer. The new rule does not let a defender hand check or even breath on the person they are defending. In one game 77 free throws were shot. In another 83 free throws were shot. The reason for the rule change was to add more scoring to the game. That may be happening but who really wants to watch teams shoot free throws every five seconds? Stupid!
• The biggest job for Coach Bill Self this year at Kansas will be to get all the superstars on the same page.
• The Alabama vs. Auburn game was as good as it gets in college football.
• My quote this week is from former NFL general manager Eddie Le Baron, Jr.: “The road to success becomes lonely because most are not willing to face and conquer the hardships that lurk on that road. The ability to take that extra step when you are tired and disillusioned is the quality that separates the winners from the also-rans. It’s the courage to succeed.”
Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 5-6 p.m. every Thursday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org