Ever since I can remember, sports have been a huge part of my life. Whether it was watching my Dad’s lacrosse team compete at St. Lawrence, or trying to keep up with my two older brothers on our backyard rink, it seemed like I was always on the move, and more importantly always having fun. That trend has continued ever since.
Some of my fondest memories have come from my time playing in the Denbleyker lacrosse tournament, or the Canton Fall Hockey Classic, or just being around my friends and teammates before practices.
I was lucky enough to play an abundance of sports for Canton throughout the years. Not just lacrosse, hockey, and football, but also soccer, and baseball, and even a little basketball at Houlie Camp. It did not matter what sport I was playing, however, because all sports have the same effect on young people. Sure they bring exercise and fun, but they hold so much more power than that.
Since my 8th grade year, I have participated in highschool sports. I had been watching Golden Bear sports my whole life, but it wasn’t until I spent almost every day of my 8th grade winter at the Pavilion that I learned how truly special varsity sports are.
The dynamic in that locker room, and in every Canton varsity locker room I’ve been in since, was unbelievable. Whether it’s after a win or a loss, after a fun shoot around or hours of conditioning, that dynamic doesn’t change. People in the locker room help each other, and care for each other.
Whether it’s exchanging funny stories, or counseling a teammate who’s going through a rough patch, the importance of the relationships formed by varsity sports cannot be understated.
I could go on and on about varsity sports, and what they mean to me and everyone else who has participated in them. From Section X championships, to playing in the NYSPHSAA Hockey Final 4, to long summer football practices, to freezing spring lacrosse games and all of the great times in between. I have really only played about two and a half seasons of varsity sports at Canton, but I feel like I have gained a lifetime of lessons from them.
Sure I could mention the statistics on obesity, or depression and suicide rates, and while those are valid the importance of sports reaches far beyond that. The lessons you learn and the bonds you form with others in sports are unmatched by any other phenomenon on Earth.
There is nothing quite like being a part of an athletic team. The feelings that sports provoke cannot be replicated, nor can they be given a monetary value by a school board. For lack of a better phrase, sports are priceless.
It’s simple: if someone is claiming that there is no money for sports, then reach out to the community. There is a reason that the Pavilion and the Jerry Hourihan Gymnasium are always packed to the brim on below zero game nights. It’s because this community is passionate about sports, and people here recognize the importance of participation for our high schoolers.
If given the opportunity, there is no doubt in my mind that this community would step up.
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.”-Tommy Lasorda.