Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Two words of advice for athletes: Have fun

An Easter-time message for my high school athletes: With better weather hopefully coming on, you'll be competing this spring and summer and I have some advice for you.

And that is, after seeing the Spring Fling showcase in basketball at the old Field House in Iowa City last weekend I got the idea that most of the players there were on exhibit with the idea of obtaining a college scholarship, and that includes the parents.

I came away with the idea that high school athletics should be fun, and the lessons you learn from competing are just acquired as part of the payoff for having fun. Yes, you want to be as good in your chosen sports as possible, but if it's not fun, if it becomes work or drudgery, you're missing out on the benefits of an athletic experience.

So I would tell you at this Easter time to take stock of how much you're investing in your athletic experience and what you're getting out of it. And if it doesn't come out in a positive way, just put a smile on your face when you're competing and you'll reap some rewards that you probably never thought about.

Let's go back to the NCAA line that only 1 percent of college athletes ever become a pro at their chosen sport, and I would suggest the same total get full scholarship rides. So at this Easter time, smile a bit, enjoy what you're doing and compete to the best of your ability. And remember the word sportsmanship.

PART II: I was greatly saddened by the passing of Whitey Piro, former Iowa assistant football coach who developed All-American ends for the Evashevski years of Iowa football. He was simply a champion and proved it not only with his coaching but with his public service after his coaching days were over.

I would note, too, that only one member of the Rose Bowl years coaching staff at Iowa in the Evy days is still with us, and hopefully for a long, long time in Bump Elliott.

And my sympathy to the family of Floyd Magnuson, a star Iowa basketball player. His son played at Iowa, and Floyd's contributions to the I-Club were simply outstanding. Floyd also became one of basketball's top officials in working four Final Fours, and he contributed to the referees' fraternity by making his personality and expertise in the game a standard for officials.


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