In Pursuit of Greatness

What really happens after the “Big Game” comes to an end? For most of us we get into our cars, head home, then back to our normal lives. We might discuss for a while our favorite play, or perhaps point out who played well and who struggled a bit. Somehow though, knowing a player in the game brings with it a deeper connection and a vested interest in the outcome. But, for most of us, it typically ends there.

What is life like for our student athletes after the buzzer sounds, the match is over, or the final score displayed? For those living in a home with students who play high school sports, life after the game is an entirely different matter all-together. Ask any athlete who loves the sport they play and they will be the first to tell you, it’s the love of the game that drives them.

The day typically begins with an early morning practice, followed by a full day of school. Frequently school is followed by a bus ride to a competing school or a walk down the hallway into the locker room to “suit up” for the game. Of course the experience is always fun and exciting for the player and spectator alike. Emotions run deep, energy is at its peak, and when it’s all over, mental and physical exhaustion sets in. Yet for the student athlete, sleep is often times replaced with homework, a part-time job, chores, and balancing life as a teenager.

Student athletes willingly adopt a rigorous schedule because of his or her love for the sport. Through this process he or she develops the very qualities that prepare them for success in life beyond sports.  Due to their hard work and commitment to the sport, our student athletes develop qualities like integrity, good character, work ethic, dedication and sacrifice.
High School Sports are an increasingly important part of the daily lives of the children in our community. It’s more than the high fives, school spirit, or the pride for one’s school. Beyond the physical health benefits that come through regular practice in preparation for the competition, school sports programs provide a foundational basis for life after high school. The impact of school sports is far greater than the “glory” that comes with the game-winning shot, final match, or play across the goal line.

In an attempt to show continued support to our student athletes, HS Sports Insider has come to Region 9 Utah and we are extremely excited about the incredible talent that is found here in the Region. Here at HS Sports Insider we seek to celebrate our student athletes by giving you an inside look into their lives. 

We believe that providing you, the community, with a glimpse into who these kids are, and what they accomplish, increases your ability to appreciate them for their tremendous sacrifices.

Having personally met each of the students featured in this issue, I know firsthand what an incredible group of student athletes they are. Region 9 is blessed with talent and even more so with honorable young men and women. Our student athletes contribute to our community through volunteer work; and they are leaders and role models to upcoming generations of how to strive for excellence athletically and academically. 

A personal mentor and friend of mine, Eric ‘ET’ Thomas, was a homeless runaway and a high school drop out as a senior. He found himself eating out of garbage cans just to survive and knew his life was going nowhere fast. When offered an opportunity to turn things around and change his future forever, he took it. While on his new path he obtained his GED, then college degree, his Masters, and finally his PhD. Now, Dr. Eric Thomas is considered one of the country’s top motivational speakers who speaks to collegiate professional NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB athletes and teams. He personally taught me something I will always remember. In one of our visits together he said, “Joe, make them love you because of your ambition. Greateness is upon you and you need to act like it.”

I learned something from my friend, Dr. Thomas, that I see in each of these student athletes here in Region 9. You cannot help but love them for their commitment, dedication and ambition to succeed. They understand that greatness does not just happen, but is something to be achieved. Here at HS Sports Insider, we hope that you will support our effort as we celebrate these student athletes for all they do in pursuit of their own greatness. 

Joe Olivas
HS Sports Insider