It’s time to stop and smell the Gatorade.
With great interest, I watched my colleagues painstakingly complete our five Herald-Mail All-Washington County teams last week. They weighed records, mapped statistics and collected opinions to create those coveted lists.
Like everything else, not everyone agrees with the final product, but that is how the subjectively objective process works.
It’s interesting to see the wide array of talents on display, but these honored athletes have one thing in common — their undying desire.
They are considered the very best this county has to offer.
That isn’t a free pass for the future, but it does crack the door of opportunity.
They may be great in Washington County, but it doesn’t mean it will translate to automatic fame. It takes work because athletics is a “cream of the crop” business. It demands the best rise to the top.
Like everything else in life, though, fame is relative to the right fit and opportunity.
Still, what we have before us is a group of athletes who have grown. They not only have become bigger, stronger and older, but they also realized a passion for competition and the benefits of both aspects — passion and competition — at a young age.
They have broken out of the PPC zone — parental political correctness — in today’s youth sports system. That’s where just making a team warrants a participation medal or ribbon. It is a “feel good” measure that stunts the meaning of accomplishment.
Instead, the all-county stars understand the need and balance of success in everything — classrooms, practice and lifestyle — are the real prizes of competition.
In scanning the lists, I have been fortunate enough to see some of these success stories first hand.
There is Sarah Zielinski, who was a precocious freshman who ran to be with and like her mom, Mary. She just wanted to beat her mom someday. Now she is an accomplished sophomore after winning two state indoor track titles.
And there’s J.R. Lowery, who won the Maryland Class 1A shot put title basically because he hates to sit still. He competes in three diverse sports around his academics.
And there’s Anthony Winter, who owns Superman qualities. By day, he is a mild-mannered, popular kid. Then he changes clothes to become a dominant track and football athlete.
Or there’s Reggie Russ, who uses athletics and the love of his mother to stay out of trouble while trying to better his life.
And there’s Katie Sprecher, who is surrounded by successful teams at Smithsburg, but found her niche. She excelled as a basketball scorer, while keeping team concepts and success as a main objective.
And there’s Andre Pierre, who works daily to harness his emotions and competitive edge to become one of the most dominant small-man rebounders around.
Where all the honored athletes stand in county history is open to discussion and will constantly change. They are the here and now, but maybe they should be held in higher regard.
They are from an era when most kids can’t do anything without a joystick or cellphone in their hand.
Competing is a different kind of chic. Just putting down the orange soda for Gatorade in itself has become the start of something great.
Bob Parasiliti is a Herald-Mail sports writer. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parasiliti: Please raise your Gatorade for a toast
Parasiliti (Joe Crocetta / April 15, 2012)