By Davey Lopes
September 25, 2007
Like a lot of sports fans, I've been disappointed with the lack
of success of our Kayhi football team over the past few years.
Recent stories in the news have prompted me to do some thinking,
and to write this letter. Last week there were quotes from our
coach that Sitka was who we should compare ourselves too and
not against Anchorage and Fairbanks schools. A couple weeks ago
there were quotes about us having a moral victory and a few individual
highlights players made . . . so the game was actually a success,
even though we were blown out by the other team.
Maybe I'm just old school or was raised in a different era than
today, where we tend to not strive for success in athletics,
but rather just for the fun of competing. My generation believed
in the positive aspects of competition. It taught our youth how
to work hard and to strive for success . . . rather than instilling
a sense of . . . I hate to say it, but today we baby our kids.
We tell them it doesn't matter if they win or lose, as long as
they try. Notice I didn t say "try their BEST" . .
. . now-a-days parents seem to just want them to participate.
Meanwhile, we re getting our tails kicked and Juneau and Sitka
are sending their athletes to college on athletic scholarships.
Bottom line, whether you agree with competitive sports or not
- athletics teach kids values, morals, how to work as a team,
how to achieve success and also how to deal with failure. Teaching
kids to strive for a winning attitude is important. Life is not
a bowl of cherries when they become adults. Jobs are not just
handed to them because they have a good resume or because they
are nice guys. Success is not just given to them because their
parents think they are "super" kids.
So why this letter? I'm not picking on these two sports at all,
they are just the ones currently in season. It just disappoints
me to see recent examples like our football team and cross country
team take pride in losing. I don t think it's healthy to lose
a game 65-0 and see positive quotes in the newspaper about it.
Or to be happy that we had X amount of kids pick up personal
best times, but Juneau still whupped our butts on the race track.
I'm not saying we should treat our high school athletes like
they are professionals and give them critical news media coverage.
I just don't think it's healthy to get wiped out by our opponent
and instead of saying "wow, we really need to change things
up, work harder and try and go out there next time and compete
and represent Ketchikan better" . . what we say now is well,
they are a bigger school and have a better field. And yes, they
beat us easily, but little Johnny knocked three seconds off his
best time, so it's a moral victory.
It just worries me that we
seem to be heading down a path where we readily accept defeat.
Where moral victories are more important than actually competing
and defeating an opponent.
I think we have some tremendous athletes in Ketchikan. We have
some kids with fantastic potential. We have shown we can be competitive
with Juneau and Sitka in almost every sport. Football and cross
country should be no different.
I think this needs to be a community effort. I'll use the football
team as an example. Again, not specifically picking on them,
I know those boys are working hard. But why can't we compete?
Our basketball teams, baseball team, wrestling team all compete
with and beat Anchorage and Fairbanks powerhouses. Even our volleyball
team is now beating Juneau. So why can't our football and cross
country programs be annual contenders and not just at the Southeast
level, but at the state level???
I'm not an expert at high school athletic politics by any means.
And our coaches probably know 100 times more about their respective
sports than I do. These are just some suggestions that seem like
they might help or be ideas to think about.
1. A meeting of the minds. Pull in the Kayhi coach, athletic
director, the top KYFL football coaches and any other football
minds from our community. The plan we have now is obviously not
working. We haven't been competitive in several years. Figure
out why not and get a plan together that starts at the earliest
KYFL level and works its way up to the high school varsity level.
Start implementing varsity plays into the lowest leagues. Let
those 10-11 year olds start learning the Kayhi system now. Get
the Kayhi assistant coaches out there coaching KYFL teams and
putting on football camps and training sessions.
2. We have to have an offseason
program. I saw a quote that one of our opponents had bigger kids.
Well, kids don't grow bigger in Kodiak than they do in Ketchikan.
Those kids are going to offseason football camps. They are working
out in weight rooms all year long. Players of all ages are practicing
in fall and spring programs.
3. Fix Norman Walker field.
Maybe we can't afford a field like Juneau's. But can't the borough
or city at least level Norman Walker out??? Smooth out the big
rocks and chunks of gravel? There are actual small hills in our
field. You can kneel down on the sideline and see waves and valleys.
4. Get more school and community
involvement. Our band didn't play until the last game of the
season. That's crazy. Have our marching band at every game. Have
our cheerleaders at every game. Have little pee-wee players do
a mini-game during halftime. Have people randomly pulled from
the audience to compete in skills challenges at halftime to win
a prize. ALL those things will bring MORE people to the games.
5. What happens when you get
the community involved? When you have 500 people in the audience
instead of 100 people? When you have a decent field that isn't
going to tear up your legs? You will get MORE athletes trying
out! I wonder what an opposing quarterback would think if a Trevor
Norton was rushing towards him. Or how our passing game would
look with Eric Pihl and Matt Boyd lined up at wide receiver.
Or tossing the football back to Gunner Farstad and letting him
rush the ball. How about Damon Bell-Holter catching passes from
his tight end position? I'm not saying the athletes we have now
are not great kids out there trying their best - cuz I m sure
they are. But the more varsity athletes we can get from other
sports to play football - the better the football program will
Just my two cents. We have a ton of talented kids here, let's
help them compete at the highest level possible!!!!
About: "Long time fan
of Kayhi sports"
Received September 25, 2007
- Published September 25, 2007
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