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Bird at Play: Recognizing success

As the fall season comes to an end and many athletes are moving indoors for their next form of competition or to a well-deserved rest, it's time to recognize the successful athletes and great performances of the 2012 season.

Members of local travel and recreation sports teams that were selected to their respective league all-star games get to hit the turf at the First Mariner Arena before a Blast game.

High school players receive recognition for their on-field contributions through spots on the all-county, all-conference and all-state teams. Some get the opportunity to play in post-season all-star games in their respective sports. They begin to make contact with their prospective collegiate coaches and narrow down their choices for where they'll take their game to the next level.

Receiving postseason honors is a great conclusion to the season, to get some sort of feedback for the many hours of offseason preparation, in-season practice and in-game performances.

It's a testament to the hard work and the many hours of sweat that you've put in with your teammates, at the direction of the coach and using the resources of your school. It's a reward for the time and financial commitments that parents make on your behalf and the countless hours of driving to practice and games and sitting on cold bleachers in support of their athletes and their teammates.

There are mixed feelings about the whole postseason honors process from the players, the parents, coaches and even casual fans that follow the game. Each process is handled a bit differently with some taking minimal input from outsiders, others relying purely on coaches' choices and still others, well I can't even explain some of the others.

I get frustrated with my fellow coaches that don't attend the meetings to advocate for their players and those they've competed against during the season, but also, and especially after the all-state process this season, I really have a better understanding of why many coaches choose not to participate. The political process involved with getting your players honored with postseason accolades makes the gridlock in congress look like a second grader's tea party.

One of the award recognitions that has received my attention in recent days is that of former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's nomination for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I'm sure that his supporters will have countless statistics about the increase in value of each NFL team during his tenure, but the culture that he created where legitimate proposals for expansion were ignored in favor of his city "pets", forcing teams to leave their respective cities in order to grab the golden ring were a disaster.

No question Art Modell should have his own wing at Canton long before Tagliabue sniffs the gas fumes of the cars as they leave the parking lot of the NFL Hall of Fame. I'd threaten to cancel my season tickets but then he wins. Instead I'll just live by the words of Mark Twain, "It is better to deserve honors and not receive them than to have them and not to deserve them."

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