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Spring means sports end for senior athletes (and parents too)

May 1, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

You have probably heard the advice that some coaches give their teams during competition.

"Play this game like it's your last game ever," or "Leave it all on the field," echoes in minds of players from various moments of their athletic careers.

And that is good advice for mentors to give kids, cheering them on to work hard and give good performances for their teams.

The coaches are trying hard to give the athletes the discipline they need to succeed on the field and move on to new experiences later in life.

RHS soccer coach Erly Cornejo and assistant Aziz Waheed were saying exactly that to their team Saturday at Wolverine Field. Decimated by injuries, the coaches were encouraging their players to leave it on the field. They had to. There had no healthy subs to bring in the game. Everyone had to contribute, despite fatigue.

But for almost every high school senior athlete in Wyoming and all across the country, the spring calendar proclaims what most athletes rarely think about, until now.

Their days of playing in competitive sports are ending.

So what's next?

Only a couple of Wolverines will advance to play sports at the collegiate level next year.

Even though its different, many will continue to play in intramural or recreational leagues and continue to enjoy a lifetime of activity.

Some players, because of their athletic foundations, will gravitate to sports or activities they haven't even thought about yet but will discover are challenging and gratifying.

This is a time of transition for many parents, too.

A generation of getting kids to practice, making sure the halftime oranges are cut and ready, talking about the games around the dinner table, and supporting the ups and downs of what it means to be an athlete end for most parents of senior kids too this time of year.

And it stinks. I speak from experience.

I remember clearly when Zach Christopherson was a quarterback for the Riverton Wolverines during the years when Riverton really struggled in Class 4-A football. Wins for that group of Wolverines were few and far between.

During his end-of-year banquet, I will always remember that Christopherson stood up and told the returning Wolverines to appreciate every moment, and that the time had flown by from the first snap in fall football to the end of Riverton's season. Even though it had been a rough season, he was genuinely sad that his football year had ended -- but ready to move on to new adventures.

"Enjoy every moment. It's over too quick," he said.

I think he was speaking to the parents.

So, parents, let's learn from his advice, and learn from the normal course our kids will take as they move on to the next set of experiences in their lives.

There is more to do, more to experience and more to live.

Good luck, seniors, and your parents. Best of luck, both of you, in finding your next horizons.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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