Normally I reserve my blog posts to have some fun, but I felt compelled to write something a bit more important today. …

It is that time of the year. … AGAIN.

Another wonderfully exciting sports season concludes and another begins. Athletes who have participated on winter teams and worked hard to achieve their goals have either moved on to the challenges of spring sports or are resting their weary bodies.

Whatever the case, it is supposed to be a time of celebration. Postseason honors time is one that is supposed to be filled with happiness.

It is intended to be a time to reward those who stood out and recognize them for their achievement. League all-stars, All-Region and all-state selections bring great joy and satisfaction to the selected few who are chosen.

It also brings rage and disappointment to those who feel slighted. ESPN devotes as much time — if not more — on SportsCenter debating the merits of the athletes who were left off Pro Bowl, all-star and All-American lists as it does celebrating the accomplishments of those who were named.

Each time, I think back to a wonderfully developed character in the Vacation movies.

Clark Griswold is a warm, devoted and dedicated father willing to decorate his house at Christmas with enough lights to drain the city’s energy supply while being bright enough to be seen from the moon just to be the best. After a “drum roll” and an orchestral song, his lights fail to go on. The expressionless look upon his face is comedic gold.

It is also genuine.

The premise of the holiday movie includes Clark’s desire to give his family a swimming pool as the ultimate Christmas gift. To do so, he will need a huge bonus check at the end of the year. A check he must have worked hard for, because he anticipated its arrival by putting a down payment on the luxury item. Because of that expectation, when he learns that his bonus is membership in the Jelly of the Month club, he is naturally heartbroken, despite the fact that any bonus is an acknowledgement of his dedication to the company.

It is that high expectation that creates the disappointment even though the Jelly of the Month membership is the gift that keeps on giving.

Any way, the parallels, I think are true to all-star, all-state and All-Region honors.

For scribes like me, and page designers like Conor Foley and Bob Sanchuk, we all pour our hearts and souls in the unenviable task of evaluating, voting, selecting and then presenting these packages. It is, a thankless task.

There is the remarkably humble acceptance and sincere gratitude given by athletes like J.C. Show. He is as deserving an athlete of postseason recognition who has ever worn a uniform. Still, when given the news, the happiness in his voice is priceless.

There are also the venomous words that attack in defense of those who feel they were unjustly overlooked. They sting and while I cannot speak for everyone in our profession, I have feelings too, and they hurt.

In these times of social networking, fans have a greater and louder voice. The line between sports writing professional and high school athletes interacting are blurred, and those same lines between them and parents and fans have been wiped clean.

As a sports writing community, we take on the task of honoring All-Region, All-Area and All-State teams because we feel the athletes deserve our time. We enter into it knowing full well that it is a mine field filled with bombs ready to go off at the moment the teams are released.

For every athlete who is honored, another is snubbed. For every expectation of a huge bonus, there is the disappointment about the realization for those who receive the Jelly of the Month club.


Do we always get it right? In our minds we do. We have to feel that way. We take in all of the evidence, all of the factors, we shake it up and do the best job we can. We take this responsibility a lot more seriously than just saying the best player from your favorite team is the best player in the league. We crunch as many numbers as an accountant at tax time and we shift and wiggle against the constraints of the limited number of available spots for the seemingly endless number of worthy candidates.

We take on recommendations from coaches who see the kids play and vote for their own all-star teams. We use our own best judgment on those we see play. And we do all we can to be fair. We are thrilled for those we honor. And we agonize for those who have the highest expectation and we know must cope with the disappointment.

I only ask that before choosing to fire off a quick strike against the process, remember for every player who you as a fan or family member defend as worthy of a spot, there is one who must be replaced. Then that person’s family and fans are as equally disappointed as you are.
Somewhere along the way, this society began getting more joy out of tearing a person down, rather than being reasonable and take an objective look at the resumes. And we have forgotten about humility and what it means to be appreciative.


And somewhere, we forgot to teach how to deal with disappointment. That is an important part of the process as well. Not being chosen for an all-star, All-Region or all-state team is probably the most irrelevant disappointment your son or daughter may face in their lives. Helping them understand it and keeping this small part of growing up in perspective is a more worthy way to spend your time than to use the keyboard as a weapon to spread a fierce and tersly written tirade of uncontrollable emotion.

In the end, yes, with so many talented candidates from a very large area, some deserving athletes don’t make the all-star team. The harshest part of this process is that not everybody is an all-star. Everybody doesn’t get a trophy or a medal.

Individual honors should never be more important than the goals of the teams. And they should never be expected or so important to the individual or the fans that it spoils an otherwise remarkable career.

They also should never diminish all of the hard work they ALL put in.

Thanks for reading.