SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Thoughts on graduation day

Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 05:22 PM.

My own high school athletic experience was one of being a part of the team. I was a third-teamer on the Gulf Breeze High School football team and one of the worst 2-milers in the state the one year I ran track. But even as I struggled athletically I was a part of something that was bigger than myself.

I still remember the games we won, and even more the games we lost. I can't tell you the scores of most of those games, but I still remember the high of winning and the low of coming up short.

Being a high school athlete taught me how to push myself in ways I never imagined. And those lessons I learned so many years ago continue to guide me and will do so until the day I die.

It is easy to see the greatness in the star athletes and performers, but often the grace and courage of the third-team player is overlooked or forgotten.

I wish I could get to know every athlete I cover and tell every story. I'm sure there are a lot of young men and women that, as I did, played simply for the joy of being a part of the team and the love of the game.

My wish for all of those young men and women is that the friendships forged in practice and competition, and the lesson learned as a high school athlete will continue to push and inspire you the rest of your lives.

Congratulations to the Class of 2013 for a job well done.

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