The importance of role players


Alexa Mapes

Players, fans, and coaches all stand for the playing of the national anthem prior to the beginning of the first quarter.

Noah Van Hooser, Staff Reporter

Browsing on ESPN, or sitting down to enjoy Sports Center, maybe even reading the sports section of the local paper, there seems to be a recurring theme. As human beings, we love the home runs. We love the last second shots that send the crowd into a deafening roar. Above everything else, we have a unexplainable obsession with superstars in the world of sports. We love the aura they have about them on the streets. We can’t help but freak out at the amazing plays they make and records they break. But the reality is that these feelings aren’t just felt at the professional level, but at the high school level.

I’ve listened to the crowd. I’ve noticed the attitude around the school. A good play made by the starters is routine to everybody, but a player coming off the bench making an impactful play is all the sudden a surprise to people. I’ve seen with my own eyes a lack of respect for role players, or in the eyes of many the players that just don’t play as much. It’s this attitude and mentality I have despised my whole life. No matter what sport, no matter how many minutes on the clock, players need breaks and injuries may happen. In those moments the reserves step up and demonstrate how they earned a spot on the roster in the first place. You can’t win a game with five guys, or eleven, or six girls. Why do you think teamwork has been pounded into us since we were born? That’s how a job becomes a job well done.

I’ve been in this position myself before. Not receiving a lot of action on the court or field is difficult. Those thoughts become routine, “does the team really need me?” “What do people think when they see me on the bench?” Getting through that is a slow process. We shouldn’t belittle these players, but uplift them and educate not only them, but ourselves on how much we need them. The mark of a terrific coach is making a sub feel like a superstar. The more accepted these players feel by the coach the less they will resent the starters, but rather support them and uplift them.

The more we take into consideration the fact that everybody on a team works just as hard to be there, the faster we become more well-rounded sports fans. The home runs are great. The all-stars are exciting. Behind every star is a talented cast, and the show wouldn’t go on if the cast quit. This goes beyond sports. Respect both those who are advanced in what they do and those that give it their best effort to reach that peak. Keep in mind, every expert was once a beginner.