Bits & Pieces: Every athlete should read these books on responsibility, respect

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association has published a three-book series to promote core values for those who participate and coach. It should be required reading for all athletes at all levels in our school system.

The first publication is simply called "Respect the Game," and it outlines what all of us must do to promote the right environment for interscholastic sports. The second book, "Coaches Leading the Way," is aimed at those who have the most influence on student-athletes. It goes over what a coach's responsibilities are. The third book, "For Student-Athletes Created by Student-Athletes," was created at the inaugural MPSSAA Student Leadership Delegation to be distributed to each captain of each varsity sport in member high schools across Maryland. Simply put, it delineates the responsibilities of the student-athletes, why they participate and what it means to lead.

This overall initiative is what I have been preaching for years for not only high school athletes, but all athletes regardless of age. If we respect the game and others, friend or foe, then the game is better for all who play. Exhibiting good sportsmanship is simply treating others as you would want to be treated. Read these publications and take them to heart.

Manziel and Wilson stand tall

How many times have I heard this one? "I am not good enough or too small to play and make the team." There are countless stories of athletes in every sport who were told in their early years that they were too small, too slow, and too uncoordinated, but eventually ended up having very good athletic careers.

The key to success is often believing in yourself and not giving up at the first sign of negativity.

I watched Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel make mincemeat out of the Oklahoma defense on Nov. 4 at the Cotton Bowl. He is listed at 6 feet 1 and 200 pounds but he appears to be a lot shorter.

Seattle's Russell Wilson is another who was told he was too short and would never be able to throw over tall linemen. He only has the Seahawks in position to challenge for the NFC crown and earn the right to play in the Super Bowl. I have been told that Drew Brees stands taller than 6 feet. He may be that but only when he stands on his wallet.

You only have to be a bit faster than the person who is chasing you, and you have to want to make it so badly that you are willing to put in the time and effort that might be required. Just don't quit.

WMAR selects Brandon Lowe

Congratulations to Marriotts Ridge sophomore Brandon Lowe for being selected WMAR's Athlete of the Week. Brandon was the captain of the junior varsity football team this year while starting at center and also plays defense for the lacrosse team. He is also an outstanding student with a grade point average of 3.7 in honors, GT and AP classes.

Brandon has been an invaluable volunteer for Special Olympics in Howard County assisting in bowling, basketball, swimming and track. He participates along with the athletes as a member of the developmental swimming and basketball teams.

Polar Bear Plunge is coming

I want to remind those who may have forgotten that it is almost time for the infamous Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge at Sandy Point State Park. The 17th annual plunge is scheduled for Jan. 26. Proceeds go to Special Olympics Maryland.

I know that it is a great annual event for a great cause, but I always get chills just writing about it.

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