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Tim Crone: Shutdown makes us appreciate high school athletics even more

Staff Writer
The Examiner
The Examiner

There is good news coming for high school athletes. In the next few weeks sports may begin to get together to start working with their teammates.

We have learned much through this difficult time. Older Americans fear exposure to the virus, economic problems seem almost insurmountable, and social pressures are increasing. Although we face a multitude of challenges, the human spirit still strives to become better.

High school athletics provide stability for young athletes. A common theme over the past three months among young athletes and coaches is the difficulty they have had to overcome in not being able to be around their teammates and coaches.

On June 15, Missouri high school teams will be able to begin engaging in outside activities and conditioning. Athletes and coaches alike have expressed how much they have missed the energy received in a team setting. This is their first step toward returning to normalcy with their team.

During these past three months, much of my focus has been the impact of the pandemic on our older population, but my 95-year-old mother reminded me that the youth are the real victims with all of this, as they struggle with interrupted dreams created by the termination of school activities.

During these trying times, not a day has gone by that I have not talked with an old high school teammate, college teammate or coach. Thank goodness for phones and social media. Other than your family, your teammates and coaches will be the ones you can relate to in nearly any situation.

During this time of challenge and adversity, young people need to be able to come together and share life lessons as a team. They are losing out on the ability to develop relationships that will last their entire lives. Hopefully, a time of reflection during the shutdown of the country will bring about a realization that relationships are what matter the most. It is a common thread offered by high school athletics.

It is time to realize that a potential college scholarship is not the only reason to be involved in high school activities. An even more important reason is the positive impact of relationships with coaches and teammates.

The greatest quote I have ever heard comes from the legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi: “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

The other day I had a great conversation with a highly respected coach I have known since he was a young player. I asked him how things are going? His simple response was, ”I miss the kids and the people.” Another old saying that also applies is “You do not realize how much something means to you until you do not have it any longer.”

High school athletics teach kids to get back up when they get knocked down. Now is the time to practice – the pandemic has given all of us a dose of that lesson. Now is the time to put into practice what we have learned over the past three months.

• The quote of the week comes from Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States: “People acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about.”

– 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) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at