CONTACT SPORTS: Life is more than a game

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 9, 2002


When professional athletes get paid $5 million to throw interceptions, should we be upset? Yes.

When we spend $50 per ticket on team that doesn’t win when they are supposed to, should we be upset? Probably.

When a high school player plays hard but falls short, should we be upset? Absolutely not.

“It’s just a football game. What has happened to those poor people in the Yucatan is real,” Riverside Academy head football coach Mickey Roussel said after a recent loss.

Coach Roussel, you could not have put it any better.

It amazes me how some people simply take high school football too seriously. I recently overheard a couple of fans at a recent game complain that their teams quarterback was not getting the job done.

I have news for those fans. That young man was working his tail off trying move his team down the field.

We have to remember that these kids, and they are still kids, play football for the love of the game. Most of them are between the ages of 15-18.

They are human. They do make mistakes. Some people need to realize that they are students first, athletes second.

Most of the players excel in the classroom. Right now, their education is their number one priority. Because most will not be offered athletic scholarships, they realize the importance of an education.

I recently saw a game between East St. John and Hahnville. After the game, ESJ coach Larry Dauterive was hugging family members. This was after his team lost by 28 points.

It is just a football game.

My favorite words from a high school football coach, even in defeat, are, “Our guys played hard tonight.”

That is what is boils down to. I think every coach and fan should tell me those words after a game.

So far, I have enjoyed my job very much as a sports reporter.

The only thing I don’t like is the fact that some people complain that we don’t cover their school enough or show favoritism toward another.

That is the furthest from the truth. Each and every week we do our best to fairly and accurately cover each of the nine high schools within our three-parish coverage area. And, despite protestations from a small but vocal few, we attempt to highlight female athletes and the sports they play.

Remember, it’s just a game. It is not life. Let us all sit back and enjoy high school football regardless of the outcome.

GEORGE MAHL is a staff reporter whose main focus is sports coverage in the River Parishes.