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EDITORIAL: On And Off The Field

Surprisingly there are many things we can learn from playing sports that apply to daily life. In fact, there are even aspects of sportsmanship that should be more prevalent in our lives. One of the most obvious things a person learns is what good sportsmanship is. That includes how to conduct oneself after losing, and after a victory.

Those are the basics, but one also picks up on how to perform under pressure, to persevere against the odds, and how to push oneself to new heights of achievement. There are lessons about how to reach goals and the kind of effort and work it takes to get there. Something that every athlete has to learn as well is the fine art of leaving the game on the field. While athletics seem like simple exercises, the attitude and character they can help us develop make them an invaluable source of life experience.

Yet regardless of the assurances a good athlete presses on because they know that no matter how daunting the odds they will never reach their goals without that willful effort.

"Academic Athletes," are students who achieve excellence both on and off the field. As many of us know, is never an easy task to maintain a high grade point average and still do well in sports. Long after academics we still face that same dilemma when we are confronted with work and personal affairs. It's so easy to develop an imbalance between the two, particularly given the requirements we face financially on a daily basis; yet sustaining that balance is crucial to our health and success.

One of the most difficult aspects of managing our careers and personal lives is separating the two. Like a sports player it is essential to, "leave it all on the field," so to speak. It is much more difficult to focus on personal matters when work matters occupy that time and space as well. Much like a student struggles to succeed academically when their mind is on athletics, our ability to partake in, or excel in personal endeavors is impeded when we can't take our minds off of work.

By learning to put our all into it while we are on the job and leave it there when we walk out the door, we can greatly prevent work from interfering with our lives and those we interact with outside of the office.

Given the financial burdens we face today, it's no wonder there is a delicate balance that is often thrown off in favor of work. In sports, whether it is football, tennis, or track and field, a person learns about setting goals and how to reach them. It would definitely be easier if everyone was a superstar talent, but most of us have to work hard each step of the way.

Win or lose, there are steps to accomplishing our objectives, and athletes know that hard work is no guarantee. Yet regardless of the assurances a good athlete presses on because they know that no matter how daunting the odds they will never reach their goals without that willful effort.

The same principles apply to our lives, and when we reach the goal we can relish in our success without announcing it to the world. If we fall short we pick ourselves back up and try again even if it means going back to square one. We shake the hands of the ones who have bested us this round, even if it is only metaphorically, and we work to turn the odds in our favor for the next round.

Good sportsmanship carries over into our lives on many levels, from the work ethic to the strong character it can build. By participating in athletics as a good sportsman, and by partaking in life as an athlete we can bridge the two worlds and reach our goals.

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Patsy's Last Word

A teacher is explaining biology to her 4th grade students.

"Human beings are the only animals that stutter," she says.

A little girl raises her hand. "I had a kitty-cat who stuttered," she volunteered. The teacher, knowing how precious some of these stories could become, asked the girl to describe the incident.

"Well," she began, "I was in the backyard with my kitty, Patsy, and the rottweiler who lives next door got a running start and before we knew it, he jumped over the fence into our yard!"

"That must've been scary," said the teacher.

"It sure was," said the little girl. "Patsy went 'Fffff, Fffff, Fffff'... and before she could say 'Fudge,' the rottweiler ate her!"

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