By Steven McGrain, Sports Writer
Kids these days need to strive to become a well-rounded athlete, focusing on multiple sports and not limiting themselves to just one position or sport.
Many children grow up with the sole focus of playing primarily one position in one sport. But are they still considered an athlete or is this specific aspiration detrimental to their development?
Through the years I have learned to define what an athlete is. The definition is a person who plays multiple sports and is capable of playing them at a certain level. According to this description, a young boy growing up with the intent to become the next best quarterback is not considered an athlete, because he is limiting himself to one position in a sport.
At a certain age it is acceptable to have a child focus on a specific sport, but doing so for their entire adolescence is only hindering their athletic ability.
Having a young girl play soccer, then basketball in the winter and then softball or track in the spring can only propel her in the long run.
For a male, playing certain positions in football can make you understand the game even better. In my opinion, the best offensive position in football is tight end. The coordination of being able to block a certain defender, maintaining body control and even running a pass pattern.
There are examples of dual-sport athletes and even triple-sport athlete in college. The greatest athlete of all-time is Bo Jackson, who played baseball and football at Auburn University. He was a Heisman trophy winner and an All-Star in both baseball, as well as football. Jackson went on play professional baseball for the Kansas City Royals, which was his main love. He played running back in the National Football League for the Los Angeles Raiders, but considered this profession a hobby.
On the contrary, Todd Marinovich was an aspiring quarterback, but became burnt out by the sport and his over-powering father. Once considered, “Robo QB,” his father kept him focused on football and at a young age he was destined to become a great quarterback. He trained, ate, and slept coverages because his father would not let him think otherwise. Ultimately, Marinovich went to University of Southern California and has drafted by the L.A. Raiders, but became burnt out due to expectations and a desire for a sense of peace.
They are called professional athletes for a reason, many of them grew up playing multiple sports. First get them away from the television screens, then have them find a passion on every field or court there is.
Being capable of playing multiple positions is a massive advantage, whether it be in high school, college or even professional sports. ◼︎