SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Kayhi Football
By Davey Lopes


September 25, 2007
Tuesday PM

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. It's insane.

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 be.

Just my two cents. We have a ton of talented kids here, let's help them compete at the highest level possible!!!!

Davey Lopes
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Long time fan of Kayhi sports"

Received September 25, 2007 - Published September 25, 2007


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