Pro athletes found in high school sports

By Jason Yoffe
Published: October 2010

When watching high school athletics, fans often witness mannerisms similar or even identical to the professional athletes of the sport.
These habits emulated by Dual County League athletes tend to impede the game more than enhance it.
While many of these routines are harmless, many young athletes develop a tendency to adopt the detrimental customs of professional sport by emulating the unsportsmanlike practices of professionals.
Flashy plays are prevalent in most high school athletics. Players often use flamboyant techniques that prove unnecessary and disrespectful.
While many athletes believe that the imitations demonstrate extra skill, the perception from both opponents and teammates is one of disdain.
These practices, however, seem out of place during high school competitions are usually penalized.
The emphasis on sportsmanship at lower levels of sports helps prevent rude behavior and encourages athletes to conduct themselves in a respectable manner.
“It is disheartening to see [showboating] because everyone’s working hard to play, junior and Varsity Football player Aaron Weinstein said. “You’re giving credit to yourself, which is at times undeserved, because it is a team effort.
Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, one of football’s elite athletes, is notorious for his flamboyant touchdown celebrations.
Although his acclaimed routines are comedic and creative, he consistently crosses the line between having innocent fun and showing off.
This trend is seen in high school competitions as well, but is often ill received. “[Showing off] in your driveway is one thing; doing it in a game situation is different, South Athletic Director Scott Perrin said.
“It can be demoralizing, senior and captain of the Boys’ Varsity Tennis team Tyler Epstein said of showboating. “It could make you feel bad about yourself if your opponent’s obnoxious.
Disrespecting officials and referees is one of the most prominent bad habits embraced by some high school athletes.
A culture in which insolence towards officials is acceptable ultimately becomes detrimental to a team, as losing the favor of an umpire or referee can be the reason for a loss.
This culture is supported by the consistent bickering of professional athletes to officiating crews. At the professional level, ejections, penalties, and technical fouls are often glorified or deemed as methods through which athletes motivate their teams.
“It never makes sense to bicker with [referees], Perrin said. “In sports you can only control how you play and focus. You can’t control an official’s view of a play or call. It just makes no sense at every level to argue with the referees.
The scope through which most high school athletes view professional sports, the media, has put stress on personal achievement.
This emphasis has created a selfish trend among today’s young athletes.
Most highlights merely quantify a player’s talents through statistics, rather than intangible qualities, suggesting that greatness is achieved through individual success rather than team accomplishments such as championships.
This misconception has flowed down to high school sports, where some student athletes are more concerned with personal achievements than their team’s ability to win.
“The media has more of an impact on kids than [coaches] do, Perrin said.
Amid all of the negative influences of professional sport, athletes who imitate their athletic heroes can greatly improve.
Learning by example is a prime way to develop talent and perfect techniques.
Many coaches encourage their players to expose themselves to their corresponding professional sport in order to see techniques executed to perfection.
Intangible qualities such as composure, leadership skills, and mental focus can also be acquired through professional sports.
Watching the best athletes in the world can provide valuable insight for an athlete.
“On a lot of levels [of athletics] the games are the same, Perrin said. “I always tell athletes to watch higher levels, including college sports; you can learn a lot about your position. It is really important for kids who want to get better to watch the pros.
Junior and goalie for the Girls’ Varsity Soccer team Emma Friedman also said that watching professional sports could help an athlete to better understand his or her position and sport.
The influence of professional sports on overall athletics is both profound and significant, as high school athletes seem to emulate their favorite players’ mannerisms for better or worse. At times, a high school competition greatly parallels the intensity, atmosphere, and attitudes in the pros.

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