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LLOYD: Making the most of the prep sports playoffs

By Jared Lloyd - | Oct 15, 2021
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Lehi and Cedar Valley players attempt to head the ball during the 5A quarterfinal game in Eagle Mountain on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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The Lone Peak boys golf players and coaches pose for a photo after the second day of the 6A state boys golf tournament at Davis Park golf course in Kaysville on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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The Provo doubles team of Olivia Kelemen and Allison Chambers hit the ball during the first round of No. 1 doubles competition at the 5A state girls tennis tournament at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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The UVU volleyball team celebrates a point during a match at Dixie State on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (UVU Courtesy Photo)

October is playoff time for just about every high school athlete who competes in fall sports.

Boys golf and tennis teams have challenged themselves on the links and on the court. Girls soccer teams are in the middle of their tournaments, while football and volleyball competitions are just around the corner.

I love this time of year because of the it’s when we see athletes give everything they have for their teams. They work for weeks, months, even years for the chance to pit themselves against the best in their classification.

But sometimes they fail.

Even teams who have the talent, who have put in the work, who have all the pieces sometimes don’t end up winning their final competition.

At the other end of the spectrum are the teams and athletes who have struggled. Sometimes injuries or circumstances are the reason, while other times its limited resources or experience.

I love seeing those athletes just as much or even more, even if they end up losing to opponents who are better.

That’s because to me sports, particularly at the high school level, are about heart more than they are about winning.

State tournaments are when the heart of each athlete is on display. It’s about each individual looking deep inside of themselves and seeing what they find.

It takes heart to win through to victory and hold the state title trophy — but it takes even more heart to keep giving everything even when victory is impossible.

Yes, I see lots of games or competitions where teams or individuals get blown out.

I probably could do better at highlighting their stories but my heart surges whenever I see a soccer team trailing by eight goals and still going after every ball or a cross country runner finishing the grueling course even if they are the last one in their classification.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how while winning gets all the attention, it’s the act of competing and pushing oneself that is where the true victories are found.

I want to salute every athlete who has stepped up to the challenge in their sport of choice and found ways to make themselves be better teammates, be better competitors and, most of all, to be better people.

This doesn’t mean you should ever like to lose. That would completely defeat the purpose. Competition and the desire to be the best you can be means you strive for victory.

But I hope you realize that the process is life-changing.

Athletes, I hope you look inside and realize that all your efforts have been worth it, regardless of the outcome on the scoreboard.

Parents, I hope you are able to take more pleasure in seeing you athletes grow than if they win games or titles.

Coaches, I hope you will continue to mold these amazing kids into people who appreciate the potential of who they can become.

For those who have playoff battles coming up, go out and make the most of them.

For those whose competitions are over for this season, look back and see where you were and where you are now.

Don’t ever let outcomes stop you from loving what sports can do for you.October is playoff time for just about every high school athlete who competes in fall sports.

Boys golf and tennis teams have challenged themselves on the links and on the court. Girls soccer teams are in the middle of their tournaments, while football and volleyball competitions are just around the corner.

I love this time of year because of the it’s when we see athletes give everything they have for their teams. They work for weeks, months, even years for the chance to pit themselves against the best in their classification.

But sometimes they fail.

Even teams who have the talent, who have put in the work, who have all the pieces sometimes don’t end up winning their final competition.

At the other end of the spectrum are the teams and athletes who have struggled. Sometimes injuries or circumstances are the reason, while other times its limited resources or experience.

I love seeing those athletes just as much or even more, even if they end up losing to opponents who are better.

That’s because to me sports, particularly at the high school level, are about heart more than they are about winning.

State tournaments are when the heart of each athlete is on display. It’s about each individual looking deep inside of themselves and seeing what they find.

It takes heart to win through to victory and hold the state title trophy — but it takes even more heart to keep giving everything even when victory is impossible.

Yes, I see lots of games or competitions where teams or individuals get blown out.

I probably could do better at highlighting their stories but my heart surges whenever I see a soccer team trailing by eight goals and still going after every ball or a cross country runner finishing the grueling course even if they are the last one in their classification.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how while winning gets all the attention, it’s the act of competing and pushing oneself that is where the true victories are found.

I want to salute every athlete who has stepped up to the challenge in their sport of choice and found ways to make themselves be better teammates, be better competitors and, most of all, to be better people.

This doesn’t mean you should ever like to lose. That would completely defeat the purpose. Competition and the desire to be the best you can be means you strive for victory.

But I hope you realize that the process is life-changing.

Athletes, I hope you look inside and realize that all your efforts have been worth it, regardless of the outcome on the scoreboard.

Parents, I hope you are able to take more pleasure in seeing you athletes grow than if they win games or titles.

Coaches, I hope you will continue to mold these amazing kids into people who appreciate the potential of who they can become.

For those who have playoff battles coming up, go out and make the most of them.

For those whose competitions are over for this season, look back and see where you were and where you are now.

Don’t ever let outcomes stop you from loving what sports can do for you.

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