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Give it a try

This past week, I was browsing some college websites and e-mailed a few contacts trying to get some updates on area athletes. I realized that a few worthy recent high school grads weren't participating in the sports I thought they might be this fall.

This past week, I was browsing some college websites and e-mailed a few contacts trying to get some updates on area athletes.

I realized that a few worthy recent high school grads weren't participating in the sports I thought they might be this fall.

It's not the first time I've been set back by this. I'm constantly surprised when I talk to seniors and see how few of them want to give college athletics a try.

There are many opportunities with Division III and all of those two-year schools. I also think there are plenty of kids I see on area teams that can play at the next level, whether that's NDSU or a community college.

I wasn't the best high school basketball player. I was lucky enough to play for a legendary coach with a great team and I had a few (very few) shining moments in between four knee operations.

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I decided to go out for the team my freshman year at St. John's. I wasn't standing out in early practices, but I wasn't looking out of place either.

Unfortunately, my knees just couldn't take it anymore and I quit before the Christmas break. I gave it a shot.

That didn't mean I stopped participating, I was coaching the freshman team at my alma mater within weeks, and held on to high school coaching jobs for the next seven years before becoming a sports writer.

I wonder how many high school athletes look back and wonder if they could have played college ball? I wonder how many could have starred at Fergus Falls for two years? How many could have played at U of M-Morris, or St. John's...but never went out for the team?

To try and not succeed is not failing. Failure is in not trying.

The same goes for high school, or junior high kids who never go out for a team.

You've heard countless times kids who participate in extra curricular activities have better study habits, higher GPA's, have lower drop-out rates. So on, and so on..

Go out for something. Try cross country, try swimming. Try volleyball, football or tennis. Try speech or drama, band or choir, maybe FFA.

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It's good to try. Explore. See what your good at. Trust me, everyone's good at something.

Another thing I don't like seeing is high school kids who stop participating in sports to get a job. I understand the need/want for money, but you have your whole life to work. Play now when it's your time.

Even if you did want a job, I never remember having trouble making money and having flexible jobs while staying active in basketball and band and keeping up on homework.

Now that I have to work, I wish I could take 2-3 hours out of my day and get back to the gym like I did back when I played high school basketball. Or I wish I could take a couple of months in the summer to travel the country like I did in marching band.

I'm glad I participated and had those experiences. Don't come back in 10 years and wish you had something more to look back on.

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