COLUMN: Support youth sports, they are the future

By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor

Over the past few weeks, I’ve attended a few high school hockey games. Watching the games made me think about my life before college and how I participated in sports.

I’ve only had the privilege of going to these high school hockey games because the former Editor-in-Chief of The Michigan Journal, Sam Elliott, is now a sports writer for The News-Herald, the local paper for the Downriver communities.

I’ve watched a few of these games and they have all been very competitive and entertaining. The games got me thinking about my life as a hockey player when I was younger.

Outdoor high school hockey at Clark Park in Detroit (Chris Zadorozny)

Outdoor high school hockey at Clark Park in Detroit (Chris Zadorozny)

So many parents and friends and families are making youth sports possible, and having children play sports is vital to not only their future, but to society too.

As a journalist, a sports journalist specifically, there are so many leagues out there that can’t be covered. Having the privilege to cover smaller leagues brings you closer to that sport. I’m sure a couple of the beat writers on staff would be able to tell you that. Not everyone is going to be able to cover professional sports, but it doesn’t hurt to have that dream.

My dream one day is to be covering the NHL as a reporter or an analyst or even a scout for a team. What I’ve learned so far is that you have to work your way up from the bottom. It’s not always like that, but from my history, that’s how it’s been.

Youth sports and the coverage of them aren’t as prominent as you may think. It’s very  unfortunate because it’s where a journalist starts out their young career. It’s how we are able to get our names out there.

The best thing about it is getting to know the people in the youth sports and learning about the sport itself. It’s great too because while learning about the sport, you get to watch young kids hope to one day make it professionally.

Most won’t, but there’s nothing wrong with helping them try and reach their dream of one day playing in front of thousands of fans screaming their names.

I loved playing in front of friends and family when I was younger. I loved that I felt like I could be a star on the ice and really look to my teammates to make me better.

Looking back on everything, what was even better was my family supporting me every year, buying new gear and coming to games. Heck, if it wasn’t for my grandpa, I probably wouldn’t love hockey the way I do now.

So when you think about the professional sports that we have today and all the stars that you idolize, think about where they came from. Once upon a time, they were kids, same as you and I, trying to learn a game that they loved.

Go out and watch a high school hockey game, watch a game where you don’t know all the players names or even a league you have never heard of. You never know what you might see.

That player on the ice could be the next Wayne Gretzky, or he could be another kid just loving the game that he plays. Support youth sports, because you never know how far that kindness will go in that kids future.

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