Staying involved in sports year-round
With the fall sports season coming to a halt at many schools, please encourage all athletes to get involved in other school activities, if not sports.
It has been my experience over the years that students who are engaged in year-round sports programs will do better in school and become less of a discipline problem. Students who feel they are giving back to their school perform better academically and even feel better about themselves. Is this not reason enough to get involved?
According to Dr. Gary Overton at East Carolina University, athletes consistently make better grades than non-athletes. Those who participate in sports make a whole letter grade better than those who do not, according to Overton’s doctoral thesis. For this reason alone, I would encourage students to stay involved in a winter sport and look ahead to the spring sports season. You will only get better and thus keep your grades up at the same time.
Another notion that needs to be mentioned is visibility! If you are anticipating the recruiting process to start this year, then please stay involved. Your visibility as an athlete is so important, and you will never know when a college recruiter may be sitting in the stands watching your team play. Also, the other high school coaches are watching you and when a recruiter comes to their school they will always ask if there any other athletes they have seen on other teams. It just goes to show that you never know who is watching.
One of the most important reasons to stay involved besides grades is that you will not have time to get into trouble. Temptation is everywhere, and if you are involved you will not be tempted to get into trouble. Do you know that our police chief is a former college athlete? Stacey Drakeford was a former college football player and knows the importance of athletics and how it can help a teenager. Stay involved, and you will be his best ally, and he will support your every effort.
I have watched over my 40-year-plus career in athletics how important those who participate can be to a school and community. You bring distinction not only to yourself and family but also to your community. Our community needs all the recognition it can get, and if it is in athletics, then so be it. We already have a community rich in athletic heritage but you, as an athlete, can continue that heritage. It started before you were born and will remain after we all have left. Let us all work to continue that heritage so the residents of our state will think Washington is the best town to live in — because it truly is!
I have learned many lessons between two white lines and thank every coach that gave me this opportunity!
— Harold Robinson Jr. is a former football coach at Williamston High School for 31 years, and a member of the East Carolina staff for 12 years.