Look to local athletes for role models | TheUnion.com

Look to local athletes for role models

There are life lessons to be learned in sports, but for the sake of our children, we’d better keep an eye on who is doing the teaching.

From Babe Ruth, to Jim Brown, to Michael Jordan, our young athletes have long looked to the professional sports stars for inspiration. But as sports section headlines continue to read more like police blotter items, we hope our young athletes are looking elsewhere for role models.

The good news is they don’t have to look far – often just across the page.

Last week, The Union’s readers learned about some local athletes who are providing a strong example of what’s good in sports. Nevada Union High School’s varsity boys basketball team, as reported in sportswriter Stacy Hicklin’s Feb. 9 story, “Making the grade,” is such a squad.

The Miners, currently in first place in the Metro Conference, clearly could give the league a run for its money in the classroom, as well. NU’s roster had a combined grade-point average of 3.5, while four of the Miners had produced a 4.0 – or better. Great news indeed. But there’s more.

• Last week, NU Athletic Director Steve Pilcher announced that of the school’s 287 winter sports participants, 119 produced a 3.5 or better GPA.

• Sixty-seven of those Miners put together a 4.0 or better.

• Eight winter athletic teams had a GPA or 3.0 or higher, and every sport included at least one student with a 4.0 or better.

• The alpine and nordic ski teams, along with NU’s snowboarders, had a total of 31 athletes score a 4.0 last semester.

• The varsity girls basketball team recorded a 3.69, the school’s highest GPA by an NU athletic team. In fact, the girls basketball program – at all three levels – had a 3.5 GPA or higher.

Those area athletes should be congratulated, as should their coaches – those on the court and in the classroom – for a job well done.

Over the years, we’ve seen similar success at both Bear River and Forest Lake Christian schools. In fact, the FLC volleyball team owns a state record for the most California Interscholastic Federation State Academic Championships. The Falcons won five such CIF crowns between 1996 and 2001.

Clearly, western Nevada County has long been blessed by high school athletes worthy of admiration often misplaced on professional sports stars, some whose skills as human beings leave a lot to be desired.

The high marks the Miners – and many other area athletes – have earned will continue to serve them well long after this season’s won-loss record is left to be remembered in the high school annual.

Thanks to them, the next generation of Bruins, Miners and Falcons have a shining example of what it means to be a “student athlete.”

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