Thank you to a lot of people
Today is the last chance we get to look over our 2016 Gridiron, our annual high school football publication that will be introduced to the public on Aug. 23 and delivered in our newspaper on Aug. 24.
There is an insane amount of work that goes into it by a lot of people (and, yes, there will still be some mistakes, so I apologize up front).
It is a collaboration of three sports departments — us, the Times Leader and The Intelligencer — our advertising department, the ad center, 11 high school athletic directors, head coaches, coaching staffs and players.
It is far from easy, but it is also something we (without publicly acknowledging it) look forward to each year.
We look forward to figuring out what stories we will tell and, again, there are some really good ones.
We attend 11 media days where we take our photos, talk to kids and coaches and laugh a lot.
A massive amount of thanks to Newbrough Photo and Action Images for all their help during 10 of the media days. They do a lot for our kids and really help make our publication the award winner that it is.
Thank you also to Rich Cernansky for his help.
Matthew Peaslee talked to somewhere around 70 kids for all the work he does.
But, the guy who does most of the heavy lifting is Michael D. McElwain.
His OCD makes our publication far better. He sees the small things that we allegedly are not supposed to sweat over.
Everyone puts in a lot of hours getting this thing done.
He leads us all and I thank him for it.
¯ The Olympics are amazing.
Well, the Olympics that happen in the field of competition.
I’m not sure it was terrific for Ryan Lochtie, who said he had a cocked gun pointing at his forehead and was robbed (along with a few others).
The bottom line during competition is that we witnessed history.
Twenty-eight medals, 23 of them gold.
Seriously, who does that?
Oh yeah, no one ever but Phelps.
His 28 overall medals is 10 more than Larisa Latynina (1956-64 Soviet Union gymnastics) and 13 better than Nikolai Andrianov (1972-80 Soviet Union gymnastics).
There are four people with 13 medals and nine people with a dozen — four of those Americans and all in swimming (Jenny Thompson, Lochtie, Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin).
Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi (swimming) each have 11, as does Carl Osburn (1912-24 shooting).
Carl Lewis (track) and Gary Hall Jr. (swimming) each have 10, although nine of Lewis’ are gold.
Phelps would be 51st among the countries who have won the most medals and he is tied for 37th with most gold medals won.
I contend the 2020 Olympics will have every top golfer in the world after watching Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson battle down the stretch. Of course, the 63 by Matt Kuchar to win bronze won’t hurt getting the top four Americans to play.
¯ Now that the fall sports have begun, a few reminders.
Administration, coaches, players and parents — positive stuff.
Negativity takes too much energy and can infiltrate a locker room like nothing else.
Not everything will go right, and that’s a promise.
Parents, please stay out of it unless you really HAVE to get involved.
Have to and want to are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Seniors: Be good leaders. Work hard. Be great teammates and, when the season is over, turn in your uniform with zero regrets.
¯ Hope Solo is the definition of a poor loser.
The goalie who should not be a member of team U.S.A. called the Swedish team, the team that beat the Americans in a shootout, cowards for how they played.
Yet, the Swedish team won and Solo and her teammates get a plane ride home with nothing around their necks.
To all high school athletes: What Solo did is never a good look. The bottom line in athletics from the high school varsity level up is the scoreboard.
But, that cannot define how you react to the scoreboard.
¯A potato, egg and coffee beans were all put into boiling water.
After the desired about of time in the water, the potato turned soft, the egg turned hard and the coffee beans turned into something to drink (although I don’t do coffee).
What do you do with the circumstances you are in?
¯ Accept the responsibility and move forward.
Excuses are not allowed.
We’ve heard them all.
We are the administration, coaches, teachers, employers and parents.
We. Have. Heard. Them. All.
And, don’t spend a lot of time trying to think up a new one. That time should be spent on doing homework you’re trying to get out of.
Teaching, coaching and parenting is not always about the moment.
It’s about teaching, coaching and parenting kids to work hard in everything they do, be courteous, respectful and be accountable for their actions.
But, kids being kids, don’t always get it.
A good teammate does not point a finger because there are more pointing back.
Selfishness is not good at all.
It’s hard to be a leader in one area when you just quit in another area.
To change the outcome you must change the investment.
Don’t be surprised when another coach at another level doesn’t want you on his/her team after you have quit, been a poor teammate, blamed others or are too much work to deal with.
If you’re that good, giving nothing less than 100 percent is not an option — whether it is in sports, in the classroom, in the band room, in the school play or in anything else you choose to do.
You may not see the link between the two, but a lot of other people do.
You do your best at every level, not only when you want to or when the homework is easy, or when you are playing a team you know you can beat.
Anything less is not fair to everyone else involved.
Hush up and step it up.
French or volleyball.
Math or debate.
Science or swimming.
English or golf.
History or band.
It doesn’t matter.
Your best at all times.
It is not only expected, it is expected.