Tuesday, April 15, 2008

There is More to Sports and Athletes than Meets the Eye

When you think of sports, perhaps you think of fast, agile movement; Pressure-packed moments and amazing feats that often rule the day. At the same time, the bone-heads of athletics also make the headlines but real fans that love sport sweep those guys away in our minds as if they were never there.

What is special about small high school sports and activities is the innocence, all the opportunity in the form of joyous play for student athletes. There are a lot of smiles, laughter and occasionally giggles. Here in Washington, as so many other states, they don’t just make their names on the field of play.

Take for example, Toledo High School Junior Candi Zion. She was one of nine students selected to represent the Washington Interscholastic Activity Association (WIAA) participants to include student-athletes, cheer squads and theater participants all over the state. In all, nine student representatives were chosen to speak for 227,000 participants.

Sure, I was impressed with her 4.0 grade point average, and her participation in Basketball (2nd team Evergreen 1A all-star), Soccer (2nd team all-state) and at one time Fast pitch at Toledo High School. What was most impressive, however, was her skill as an eloquent communicator.

Last fall, Zion applied for a two year term in the Leadership through Education and Personal Development program (or LEAP) through the WIAA and was accepted. Meetings of the committee are held at the WIAA headquarters in Renton. Some of the topics have included student views regarding logistics at the state tournaments, the fairness of private schools competing with public schools, a shot clock in boys basketball and geographic anomalies like Forks competing in the same league with Winlock and Toledo.

As you would expect, with a representative like Candi Zion, the nine students brought together to assist the WIAA in their decision-making will look at issues with an objective and intelligent view. Clearly, there will be 227,000 benefactors.

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