As I sit here early Thursday morning writing this column, I find myself wondering how others manage to not only wake up at the crack of dawn, but be productive as well.
It turns out our local girls soccer players are managing to do just that. With the start of the 2018-19 school year still weeks away, early-morning practices are a fact of life for local athletes as they try to avoid the blazing midday heat.
I find it difficult to do much of anything before 10 a.m. most days. These girls are up while it’s still dark outside, and they’re hitting the practice field before most Tooeleans are hitting the snooze button for the first of several times. For that, I commend them.
It’s one of the underappreciated elements of being a high-school athlete, but it’s also a valuable life lesson. Succeeding in sports, like succeeding in life, requires a great deal of sacrifice. Nobody between the ages of 12 and 22 wants to get up early. (For that matter, neither does anyone in their mid-30s who still acts like they’re between the ages of 12 and 22, but I digress.)
Moreover, nobody who gets up that early wants to be productive. In my case, if I haven’t had my coffee and a bite to eat and watched The Price is Right, it’s going to be a struggle to do much of anything. This week, with coveted spots on the varsity roster on the line, these athletes are out there competing, and they’re home before anyone gets asked to “come on down.”
That’s not to say they’re not likely cursing their coaches for scheduling practice that early in the morning. I know I used to dread those morning football practices during two-a-days — and I didn’t even play (all I was doing was running a video camera). My younger sister suffered through early-morning soccer practices throughout her high-school career. Our friends had to deal with having their summer sleep patterns disrupted in the interest of athletic success as well.
But, life does that to you sometimes. I know I have a lot of late nights and early mornings as a result of my work. Suddenly, those early practices don’t seem so bad.
At least I was home in time for Bob Barker.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He had forgotten that 5 a.m. existed until he tried to hit an early-morning deadline. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.