Senator John Thune
The start of fall sports for students in South Dakota unofficially serves as the kick-off for autumn. It has been over 30 years since I was out on the field suited up in my pads and Coyote jersey, but this time of year always brings back memories of high school football.
My three brothers and I all played football in Murdo and our dad was a coach. I played quarterback and always looked forward to taking the first snap of the season. It was a fresh start and our team set high and realistic goals. The most important thing to me back then was winning, but today the memories of our losses are just as valuable to me as those of our victories, even when the losses were to our greatest rival, White River.
Whether it is football, basketball, volleyball, or any other sport, there is a lot of truth in the old clich‚ that student athletes gain invaluable experience and learn life lessons through competition.
Student athletes across the state look up to the likes of NFL players Chad Greenway of Mount Vernon, Adam Vinatieri of Rapid City, and Ben Leber of Vermillion. These hometown heroes serve as an example of what South Dakota youth can achieve if they work hard on the field, court, or track, and in the classroom.
As the 2011 fall sports season gets underway, I encourage all students and their fans to set high goals and enjoy the experience each and every day. As President Abraham Lincoln famously said, "Whatever you are, be a good one."