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Sports

February 5, 2014

Key to success for Demon basketball: Patience

DUNCAN — Everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to see the sports teams at their favorite high school go to the playoffs on a regular basis.

So it can be frustrating when a high school team seldom wins a game, as has been the case for the Duncan basketball teams this season.

But it’s important for Demon fans to be patient.

Building a successful high school program is not like building a successful college program or professional team. With colleges, a new coach may recruit graduating high school seniors and, with some limitations, consider athletes who wish to transfer. In the pros, there’s free agency, the draft and trades among the avenues a new coach or general manage can bring in players that fit what the coach wants to do.

High school coaches don’t have that luxury. They can certainly talk to students who attend the school at which they coach, encouraging them to play. But they can’t just go out and pick whoever they want from outside the school — not without going through a complex transfer process.

More importantly, we must remember that the real purpose of a high school program is to teach life lessons to those who play the sport.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s wonderful when a high school athlete gets a chance to go to college and play a sport he or she loves. But few get that chance. For many high school athletes, playing at the collegiate level isn’t going to happen.

From talking to several of the Demon basketball players — boys and girls alike — it’s pretty clear these kids are learning life lessons. The ones I have talked to have nothing but good things to say about Ben Scott and Grant Givens.

The boys are making progress, as evidenced by the closer outings they have had against some of the better teams in Class 5A. The girls aren’t scoring much, but they are young and can only get better.

I’ve watched teams at other schools that had young players who didn’t always win grow into teams that posted winning records and did well in the postseason. Part of that success goes back to having a good program in place, which means allowing that coach time to build the program and help players get better.

We may live in an “instant gratification” society these days, but some of the best things in life are things that take time to develop. Whether it’s a home-cooked meal, seeds planted from which flowers eventually bloom, or watching a child grow up into a young man or woman, there are just some things in which our enjoyment of the process shouldn’t be immediate.

Remain patient with the Demon basketball squads. Given time, there’s a good chance they’ll win more games and become playoff contenders.

 

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    Dial held the world record in the men’s indoor pole vault at one point, clearing 19 feet, 3 3/4 inches in on Feb. 1, 1986. He was a four-time state champion at Marlow from 1978 to 1981, with his best state meet mark coming in 1980 when he cleared 17 feet, 1 inch. He now coaches track at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.

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