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PREP VOICES : Q: Is too much emphasis placed on winning at the high school level? : CON: Winning Is a Matter of Togetherness

March 23, 1994|DONALD HOHL | Marina Girls' Tennis Coach

High schools in Orange County with winning traditions in sports are schools with heavy parental involvement, schools that promote and support academics, athletics and parental ties. Winning is a natural result of this cooperation. It isn't that winning is emphasized; winning occurs because parents, kids, teachers and coaches are working together to mold future Americans.

Brea-Olinda, Mater Dei, Los Alamitos, Santa Margarita, Edison, El Toro, Estancia and Marina and many others are high schools with winning traditions in multiples of sports. They are also high schools with active booster groups, knowledgeable athletic administrators, student-centered coaches and involved parents.

Funding reductions, increased academic requirements, intra-district transfer policies, etc., do not become impediments at these schools; they become challenges that parents, athletes, teachers and coaches focus on together for solutions.

Winning at a family-centered school occurs because all four forces have made sacrifices and worked together.

Let's remember that until their junior year, most high school students don't drive. They're dependent on adults or the system to transport them to and from practice. The system, in the past 10 years or so, has collapsed; schools no longer provide bus transportation to and from athletic practices. The kids have to get there and get home on their own.

Schools that have parents who take their kids to swim practice year-round at 6 a.m., who pick up their kids from football practice at 7:30 p.m., who spend their weekends at cheerleading performances, band competitions, volleyball clinics or wrestling events are the winners.

The "have" schools of our county are in the majority, and they are successful winners because parents at those schools make major sacrifices in time, money or priorities.

A winning tradition becomes contagious when cheered on by all those involved. Coaches are a crucial ingredient in the mix, but so are committed parents, supportive teachers and dedicated athletes. Ask what makes Brea-Olinda's girls' basketball team click, Mater Dei's boys' program excel, Los Alamitos' football squad dominate annually or Marina's softball team win consistently: an interactive winning tradition supported by adults who respect students.

How much emphasis should be placed on winning at the high school level? As much emphasis as the partners involved wish to spend. After all, this is America: land of the free to choose, to sacrifice, to win!

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