Sports Commentary 9/12/13
Boy Scouts..It’s a good way to go..
THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME
You know their names. Many of you count some of them among your personal sports heroes. Do you know what else football stars Joe Theisman, Merlin Olsen and Beasley Reese have in common with baseball stars Shane Victorino, Nolan Ryan and Hank Aaron, Olympic heroes Mark Spitz, Dan Jansen, Bruce Jenner and Alberto Salazar and former NFL commissioner Peter Ueberroth? It’s something that I have in common with all of them. We were all Boy Scouts. In a world where so much emphasis is put on developing the athletic abilities of our youth, not always for the right reasons, and often at the exclusion of development in other areas, these sports stars and many others, chose a more well rounded development in their youth by joining the Scouts. It may surprise you to know that Aaron and Victorino, while developing their considerable athletic talents, also put in the effort to become Eagle Scouts. So did Reese and NFL and college football coach Chan Gailey. Life Scout Joe Theisman addressed the Boy Scouts annual “Top Hands Conference” in Washington, D.C. last month and broke into a recitation of the Scout Law. “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” “Those twelve points of the Scout Law never leave you”, Theisman told the gathering, adding that adults who grew up in scouting recall more than merely the words, they remember their meaning. “It’s not a bad credo to follow”, he said. I remember the words, and I remember the experiences of scouting that helped me succeed as an adult, and the friendships I made that still serve me today. To this day my life is foundationed in my roots in scouting. As a staff member at Lake of Isles Scout Reservation, the summer home of the, then, Charter Oak Council, I became friends with John Purnell, the nature area director who’s father was the team physician for the UCONN men’s basketball team at the time I joined their broadcast crew. Rick Lawrence, who preceeded Purnell as nature director, is now the president of the UCONN Friends of Soccer. The campcraft director in Camp Pequot, where I managed the trading post, was Ted May, who’s dad founded the Insurance City Open and today is the PGA Tour liason for the Travelers Championship and the director of First Tee Connecticut. Scouting melded seamlessly with the rest of my life at the most formidable times. Earning merit badges, like the “Nature” badge, gave me a greater understanding of my science classes in high school while badges like “Citizenship in the Nation” and “Citizenship in the Communtiy” helped with my history and civics studies. There were badges that helped me lay the foundation for my career, in writing and journalism. For those who are sports minded, there are “Field Sports”, “Athletics” and “Personal Fitness” merit badges. Tonight is recruiting night in scouting in Connecticut, a night when troops and Cub dens open meeting places to enrol new scouts, with one person in mind. The Boy. The night will be a success for any troop that recruits just one boy and makes the scouting experience everything it can be for that boy. To find a unit near you log onto beascout.org, or call 860-913-2700. Here is an opportunity to bring some balance to your son’s development and start him on the adventure of a lifetime, an adventure I’m still living today. With some sound advice from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.