Thursday, March 5, 2009


About 35 years ago, I found out the real meaning of commitment. I was a junior on my high school football team. I played a little, but wasn't any kind of a star, just a body to put out there when the real players weren't available.

And then, in practice one day, I just decided to go for it. You see, when I went to make a tackle, I used to come up to the play, break down (that means getting your butt down in a prepared position), and get run over. And, everytime it hurt, a lot.

This time, I decided the way I was doing it wasn't working and I just ran as fast as I could. I was going to be a missile, well at least in my mind. So, the play came my way, two blockers and a running back. Uh Oh! Well, here it goes. Run through it, I thought. I did. They went down. It didn't hurt. I made a tackle and everyone went nuts and the lights went on.

I learned about commitment that day, on the football field, not the classroom. I was put in a position to do something now and do it right. That day changed my life. It changed the way I look at things. It made me an attacker, not a passive person broken down ready to be run over.

As we look at our economy and school budgets, there are going to be calls for cuts to extra curricular activities, things often described as not being part of the core curriculum, and not really necessary. That would be a mistake.

Kids learn in school, but they find themselves in these "unnecessary" activities. Sometimes it's music, sometimes it's sports, sometimes it's acting, sometimes in forensics, but it's always something. They find their leadership abilities. They find their courage. They find their conviction. They find themselves.

So, as our school boards attempt to balance the budget, like some quarter-to-quarter CEOs trying to create the best balance sheet, let's find something else to cut, or find the commitment to get the funding, like those kids.

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