With the spring sports season in full swing, this month’s Blast from the Past is from an April 1972 edition of The Dial and written by Chris Berman ‘73. After graduating Hackley and Brown University, Mr. Berman joined ESPN in 1979 and has been a sportscaster ever since, earning himself a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010. In his editorial as a member of The Dial’s staff, Mr. Berman discusses the importance of teamwork and collaboration on Hackley’s sports teams.
The Importance of Winning
By Chris Berman
In a recent college basketball game, an outbreak of fights that were caused, as many believe, by a coach’s “win at any cost” philosophy has set off a number of arguments concerning big-time college sports. The call for a de-emphasis on recruiting and other tactics used by universities is widespread. This call, however, not only concerns the colleges — it also concerns the high schools.
Although crude recruiting techniques are not prevalent in high schools (because public high schools have no choice as to who they can admit), the winning philosophy is widespread. Especially for football and basketball, coaches have been known to overpower their athletes with the “winning philosophy” so much that, in many cases,winning is the only purpose of athletics for many boys.
Is winning that important? We believe that the real purpose of high school athletics is to educate — to teach the value of teamwork. This ability of different individuals to work together towards a common goal teaches one to think of people other than himself and also teaches tolerance. This is not to say that winning has no importance whatsoever. Everybody needs to have some sort of goal. Thus, the immediate goal of a team is to win; this is what they strive for. However, the overall purpose of a team member in not winning. It is enjoying the experience of collaborating with others towards a common goal.
We believe that Hackley stresses the latter. Certainly, the success of the varsity basketball team is to be commended. However, the efforts of teams such as the hockey and JV basketball teams are also to be congratulated. Undaunted by their inability to win—many games, the members of these two teams enjoyed their seasons as much as, if not more than, the varsity basketball players. This and the organization of events such as senior-faculty soccer games and inter-class basketball games is really what high school athletics are all about.