HUNT COLUMN: A non-athlete ponders athletics

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, February 16, 2022

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By Cathy Hunt
Troup County School Board Chairwoman

As I write this, it’s a big sports weekend. The Winter Olympics are in full swing, and the Super Bowl is just a couple of hours away. From the comfort of home, I marvel at the athleticism of the competitors, thinking about how hard they push their bodies and the hours they put in to hone their skills. They inspire young people to do the same.

As for myself, I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. Well, maybe one or two. In my teenage years, I could hold my own in a pick-up volleyball game, and I was a member of the dance/drill team. It’s been all downhill since then, and I don’t mean skiing.

The other day my husband chuckled as he watched me toss some limbs onto the burn pile and said, “You throw like a girl.” I cheerfully agreed. I’ve always been able to poke fun at myself when it comes to my lack of athletic ability.

When I was required to take three P.E. classes in college, I carefully chose modern dance, square dancing and archery. Even though I couldn’t throw, I was decent with cheap bows and arrows.

Also, my sorority competed in intramural sports. Only those with skills needed apply. However, just for the entertainment value we entered a team of the least athletic among us in the basketball events. The dubious highlight of my athletic life was when I was the high (and only) scorer in one of those matches. We lost 48-4.

All that being said, I enjoy attending sporting events, and I have a great appreciation for what sports do for those who play, particularly students. For young people, the benefits of participating are numerous. They learn discipline, determination, responsibility, loyalty, sportsmanship, and cooperation. Good coaches expect the same from them in the classroom.

Sometimes the love of sport (or another extracurricular) is the main factor in a kid wanting to come to school and to succeed there – so they can play.

Recently hundreds of students, coaches, and parents came to Troup County to attend a huge regional wrestling tournament in one of our new high school gyms. Until these gyms were built, we did not have the capacity to host something like that.

Just think of the positive economic impact on our town. For one thing, all the hotels were full. But mostly think about the fact that all those young people were spending the weekend with teammates and families instead of being bored or getting into trouble.

Our school coaches can tell you that these multi-purpose facilities are full of activity every afternoon, with kids pursuing many different disciplines. Sometimes it’s hard to get them to go home. This is a good problem to have.

Now the Super Bowl is only minutes away, so I’ve got to heat up a pizza and get settled. I will appreciate the skills of the players, and I will undoubtedly enjoy the commercials and the half time show, couch potato that I am.