SPORTS COLUMN: Kids get spoiled with rings these days

By ROBBIE ROBERTSON,

Notes, quotes and a thought or two…

One of the things that I like to do is see how our kids at Leake Academy are doing in their summer activities so I’m Facebook friends with a lot of the parents.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend that all high school coaches should do everything in their power to stop.

This time of year, there’s not a week that goes by that it seems like one of our kids isn’t winning some tournament and showing off the ring they got for winning said tournament.

Some of these rings are huge. I’m sure jewelry wise they are not precious metals but still they are large. I can’t tell you how many of these I have seen over the last couple of years.

I think this is a huge problem for high school coaches.

If kids spend most of their youth getting rings for winning tournaments, how are you ever going to get them to commit to doing what it takes to win a true high school state championship.

I’ll be honest, I’ve coveted a state championship ring since my days of playing football at Neshoba Central. I’ve been close a couple of times at Leake Academy but still don’t have one.

I think it’s also a sign of a deeper problem we are having with youth sports today. Parents are trying to give their young ball players experiences that should be reserved for truly special moments. Like this past year, some parents at our school decided that we needed to have a seventh and eighth grade dance. Before it was over, parents were renting stretch limousines for their seventh graders and posting pictures like it was their senior prom. And no, I didn’t let Marshall attend and I believe I called it ridiculous more than one time.

My big question is, what are these kids going to have to look forward to when they are juniors and seniors.

Let me tell you, it’s hard to win a state championship. if you don’t believe me, ask the Breland brothers. I would put Jeff and Brad Breland up against any coaches in this state. They are excellent high school coaches and neither has ever won a state championship. It’s not because they aren’t good coaches. It’s because it takes a lot to win a championship. I’ve always said not only do you have to be good, you have to be lucky as well.

It’s hard enough these days to get kids to come to summer workouts. There are so many things to distract their attention. Kids are going on big vacations all the time. There are more church camps than you can possibly imagine. There are tournaments and summer-league games. It’s easy for a kid to get overwhelmed trying to juggle all of the demands of society these days. And then there is social media and video games and how addictive all of that is. In the end, it’s easy for kids to say that being at weight lifting at 7 a.m. three or four times a week is simply too much because why do they need to do such a thing, they already have their championship ring they won when they were 8 years old.

Just saying folks.

A little tennis

We are in that part of the summer where interesting sports is at a premium.

College baseball is done and this year’s NCAA Tournament was one of the best in recent memory for me. Of course, there is always professional baseball but it’s hard to get excited about a one game in a 162-game season.

The U.S. Open golf tournament was almost unwatchable this year. While the USGA likes to make the USGA tough, people like to see golfers make birdies. Trust me when I say that people who watch golf get to see enough people make bogies and put up big numbers.

So that leaves us with tennis and Wimbledon. Even as a small child, I remember watching Wimbledon in the summer when folks like John McEnroe and Jimmy Conners ruled the courts.

Through the years, I may not watch a lot of tennis but I’m always going to watch Wimbledon. It’s sort of like the Masters, there’s just something special about it that I can’t explain.

This year, I’ve been really impressed with Serena Williams, who is playing in her fourth tournament since having her first baby. I don’t think people realize how amazing she is and what she has accomplished. After watching her on Thursday morning, there’s no doubt in my mind that’s she’s the greatest of all time. While I had a huge crush on Chris Everett Lloyd as a young boy, she’d have a hard time with Serena.

I’ll be somewhat sad when the tournament ends on Sunday because that generally signals the end of summer vacation for me. And that means it’s back to the grindstone and school isn’t that far away.

Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Newton County Appeal. You can e-mail him at rrobertson12811@yahoo.com.