View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 2/15

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: February 16, 2011 - 10:32 AM

For years I have been hearing about the end of the multi-sport athlete. Every year it seemed less and less high school athletes were playing more than just their main sports.

While that might be true for basketball or baseball players, it seems football players still find their way to other sports in the winter and spring. Whether it’s wrestling or basketball in the winter or track, baseball, tennis or golf in the spring they are out there competing.

It would be easy to see football players just spending their time in the weight room or running stairs in the gym. Those things all help but it lacks the one thing I hear coaches talk about over and over, competition.

As we’ve begun to run our season recaps for every team in the Metro I keep hearing the same thing from the coaches, they want their kids in some other sport so they are competing. They want them learning how to adjust and react when the pressure is mounting, when the game is on the line. Heck even if it is just in practice trying to get better.

Competing on every level is as crucial for an athlete’s development as 10 extra bench presses or 10 more 40-yard sprints. When you compete you find out about yourself. When you are playing a game or wrestling in a match you have to give it everything and learn how to overcome obstacles. Another part of it is no matter how good you were in that last game, match or heck even the last quarter, you have to go out and prove it again.

Putting yourself on the line over and over tests your mettle and while it seems that competition and working well under stress are sports related skills, they really are life related skills.

When I was an editor at an afternoon daily newspaper you had to compete every day. You were battling the clock, accuracy, doing the right thing for the right people and completing the task with usually not enough people to do it very well.

We competed every day. Depending on the day the press needed to be running at 10:30 a.m. for the paper to be on time. While you think a newspaper deadline is a self-imposed, arbitrary time, getting the paper on the press on time allows many other people and companies to complete their jobs.

The other thing about working in a daily paper that some people just don’t understand is no matter how well that day went. No matter how great the layout looks, how well the stories were written and the fact it all got done and the presses were rolling at 10:30, at 10:31 you were starting from scratch all over again.

It is much like a football game on a Friday night. No matter how well you played, you have to start getting ready for the next one. That is what makes sports great, it allows you the ability to test yourself over and over and find out what you are really made of.

Dion Clisso is the Managing Editor of PrepsKC. To reach him send e-mail to