Former longtime Dothan Eagle sports writer and editor and current host of the sports talk show “The Game Plan” Lance Griffin stopped by the Enterprise Quarterback Club’s weekly meeting on Sept. 24 as a guest speaker.
Rather than speaking about himself or his career, Griffin chose to talk about how great high school sports is for both spectators and participants. Griffin started by talking about the current climate we live in.
“A few years ago it seems the world has lost its mind,” Griffin said. “Something obviously has happened to our world in the not so distant past.
“Extremists on both sides of the spectrum have captured the narrative and I wonder if normal people will ever get it back. Whether in politics or the media or just voices on social media, the people that make the most outlandish comments combined with the loudest volume get all the attention. Substance and credibility are currently on vacation. This is the case regardless of which side of the aisle you may identify with.”
Griffin said that high school sports provides fans a distraction from those things but also brings people from different sides of the aisle together.
“People from all parts of Enterprise come together on football Fridays and they may think differently than the person sitting next to them on all kinds of issues,” Griffin continued. “But for two and 1/2 hours on that Friday night it’s not about left or right or this or that, it’s all about the Wildcats.”
While high school sports can be a great escape for fans, Griffin said its biggest advantage goes to the players on the field or court.
“As much of an escape as it is for fans, and as wonderful as that is, the biggest benefit for high school team sports is the life lessons learned by the participants,” Griffin emphasized. “Think about the life lessons that are learned from a team sport. When done right and well the field or the court is just about the best classroom you could ever step into to prepare you for life.”
Griffin pointed to a number of issues in life that team sports gets you ready for. One of the lessons he pointed to was that it rewards hard work.
“High school sports, when done right and well, is one of the few merit-based systems around,” he said. “You play on Friday because you earned it in practice or how you played the week before.
“Nothing gets handed to you. Neither your team or your opponent’s team is awarded any points before the game based on how they look, where they live or what their pedigree is. High school sports when done right and done well rewards you when you do right within a prescribed set of rules. You are penalized when you step outside those rules but are also given the opportunity to overcome those mistakes and redeem yourself.”
Griffin also pointed to the lessons that sports teaches about sacrifice and teamwork as being paramount for young athletes.
“You are taught to play for your teammates, the person beside you,” Griffin said. “You are taught that sacrifice is a virtue that yields results whether that be in the weight room or on the field.
“You are taught to enjoy winning but understand it is the result of a series of things leading up to the game. You are also taught to despise losing but never waste a loss and always strive to do better next time.”
Griffin thanked the parents of players, the players, coaches and even referees in attendance for helping to keep high school sports in Alabama not only a distraction for fans but a teacher for players.
Griffin can be heard every week day from 6 until 9 a.m. on 107.1 or 101.1 FM in Enterprise on his “Game Plan” show.