I realize that high school is essentially a four-year learning experience.
Along with the education that takes place in the classroom, young minds are being developed, student-athletes' value systems are taking shape and the young boys and girls are learning what it will take to be successful in life.
With that said, often times some of that sound advice and guidance goes in one ear and out the other.
During the course of the school year, there have been instances where athletes have done things and made questionable decisions that have opened a window into what some of the current generation of young people value.
It really does no good to point the finger at specific individuals and call them out by name. I believe that in many of those cases, it's more important to examine the decision and its implications, instead of blaming the culprit.
One area baseball team found out how one poor decision can affect a group. During the course of the season, a starter for one of the area squads was suspended for a number of games for a drug offense involving marijuana.
Obviously that player didn't realize that his actions not only showed poor judgment on his part, but it also directly affected his teammates and the baseball program at the school.
I think that sometimes young athletes don't realize that they have an obligation to their fellow athletes, and what they do can compromise an entire group. In addition, being a member of a team, an athlete has to keep the best interests of the team in mind.
Some athletes can make questionable decisions with the best of intentions.
Which high school student doesn't want to go to his or her senior prom? However, when the shindig conflicts with a sporting event, some times athletics decide to forgo the sporting event.
That happened this season with some track and field athletes. The prom night just happened to fall on the same day as the CIF Southern Section preliminaries. Instead of missing the prom and attending the meet, a few chose to go to the dance.
I realize there was probably little chance those athletes could have even advanced to the finals. But it was the fact that they chose to miss the final event of the season that rubbed me the wrong way.
Like the baseball player, these athletes — although taking part in essentially an individual competition — had an obligation to their teams, and their coaches, to finish the season.
That is the point of joining a team. Athletics take sacrifice, and if finishing out the season means missing something as fun as a prom, than that is the price.
Ask Burbank High senior track and field standout Greg Dotson how it feels to miss a big school event when it conflicted with an athletic endeavor.
While his classmates were graduating in an elaborate ceremony Friday night, Dotson was in Norwalk running in the boys' 800-meter race at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet.
Albeit, Dotson was competing for a chance to advance to state competition, he still missed a monumental school event to run in the race.
In softball this season, there were rumblings that members of an area team weren't happy with being in the playoffs. There was word that a number of seniors wanted the postseason to be over so they could move on.
If that is indeed true, it is sorry commentary on the players' lack of dedication to their team and their school.
A different incident occurred seven years ago when the Providence High softball team was scheduled to take part in an early Friday afternoon CIF Southern Section Division VI playoff game at Capistrano Saddleback Valley Christian.
The only problem was the school's senior prom was scheduled for that evening.
Despite a concerted effort by the team and the Providence administration to get the game rescheduled for Thursday or even Saturday, Valley Christian wouldn't give in, and the contest was played Friday.
That left some senior Pioneer players with a dilemma. A handful of girls already had plans for the prom, and taking part in the game wouldn't give them enough time to get back home and get ready for their big event.
So the players had to decide between the playoff game and the prom.
They chose the prom.
With the players missing, Providence fell to the No. 1 seed, 9-0.
Missing the game was two senior starters who spent years with the program. The game would probably been the final of their careers.
Young boys and girls will make bad decisions and mess up from time to time, because when it comes down to it, they're only kids. However, athletes have to think about the decisions they ultimately make, and realize that those decisions not only affect them, but others as well.