Thousands of high school age basketball players are in Las Vegas to compete and impress coaches in a variety of basketball tournaments, and just as many soccer players are in Dallas vying to win national championships – and also impress coaches.
The focus – especially those about to be seniors in high school – will be to try to set up the next phase of their athletic careers. Parents are worried about scholarships, hoping a coach sees the qualities that make their sons worthy of an invitation to a school.
Minds can get cluttered with the temporarily important as July comes to an end. Lots to consider, focus upon, and fret about.
And none of it really means a damn thing.
Trips to play a game with and against friends are simply an opportunity to enjoy a long and hot weekend among those with a shared passion. Hopefully, parents who have roamed the country as part of the circus of travel athletics understand that the friendships, not the results, matter most.
Winning might be a priority before being eliminated – as almost all teams are – but the result won’t matter at all when the participants and parents look back in five years.
Trophies rust. Friendships last.
This weekend in Vegas and Dallas is about friends that have formed and blossomed over the course of years on the court, pitch, and in countless hotel rooms.
As they look back, memories will focus less on the games and more on the fun during the down time.
Whether kids earn a scholarship, play in college, win a championship, or earn a penny as a professional, this weekend will be remembered for the hours in hotel rooms watching bad movies, chasing one another through the halls, and laughing together.
This is a great weekend for young men and wise parents. Smart kids will take a few moments to stop worrying about the result of the tournaments and embrace the importance of enjoying the truly important moments.
Whether tournaments are won or lost, friendships are the real trophies of youth sports.
Enjoy yourselves. What you worry about this weekend is the silly stuff. What’s important is the laughter you hear as you walk past your son’s room between games.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.