5 Ways High School Sports Inadvertently Prepared Us For the Working World


They always say high school sports is all about the life lessons. They were sort of right.

People Who Really #Grind Shut Up And Get the Job Done

A less poetic version of “let your game speak.”

Playing hurt, playing in hostile circumstances – these are all part of The Game. And The Game, when not being a mid-aughts, Los Angeles-based rapper, is incredibly busy being the overarching metaphor for the inner-workings of all facets of life; be it the drug trade, career advancement as an investment banker, and of course, conquering Chipotle.

If you’re really good at what you do, chances are you won’t necessarily need to tell people how good a job you’re doing. It’s sort of the same thing as the girl who claims she isn’t high maintenance. Or the guy who doesn’t shut up about how good a Badminton player he is cause he once wrecked everyone in gym class.

Buzzwords and Phrases = Timeless Inside Jokes

Any proper high school sports coach, particularly the elder ones, will possess a rolodex of pre-rehearsed quotes that they (and they only) believe contain an intellectual merit worthy of Socrates’ smarter, less self-promotional brother. Year after year they’ll repeat these phrases ad nauseum, as if this repetition creates some sort of unquestionable mystique and validity.

“You can’t make a chicken salad without the chicken.” “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.”

Little did I know that these phrases, gems from my high school basketball coach, were simply precursors to the working world epidemic known as buzzwords. Which now, adds value tenfold to this high-impact notion I’ve just brought to the floor. Really feel like I’ve broken through the clutter and pushed the envelope on the untapped synergies between these two verticals. A big-booming paradigm shift.

On Some Level, You Might End Up Hating What You Once Loved

You watch half the sports movies and tv shows out there, and you’ll probably see a Brooder — a character that once loved the game, but hates what the coach, the program ideology, and “this crummy town” have turned it into. Oftentimes this character will be smart, exaggeratedly bookish, and will probably wrap up his overall arc by attending a prestigious school he’d get rejected from in real life.

(Note: this doesn’t so much have to do with his smarts as it has to do with elite colleges hating Middle America.)

The character is of course, a bit hyperbolic. But he’s based on a real guy. And at some point, everyone’s been that guy. You play a game and take a job because of natural interest and passion, but passion untamed is dangerous and often-times ineffective. (i.e., you could write the most profound shit ever experienced by humankind, but if its too out there for anyone to read/comprehend, its impossible to label it as such). Structure and control then, are crucial.

But as anyone who has ran 3 hour sprints for no apparent reason will know, that control can sometimes be abused. There’s a Ben Hoffman in every coach. Cue the staring at a wall and trying your hardest not to laugh.

Most Teams Have a Cancer. Avoid and Isolate that Cancer

The thing about any group of people, is that some people are shitloads better than others.

Not only is this all the reasoning you need to prove the unsustainability of Occupy Wall Street, Communism, and the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers, but it also explains why there’s always going to be at least one dude who’s generally gonna play the role of serial underminer. Dissatisfied where he stands relative to the whole, the strategy here is to ensure that everyone gets on his level. By bringing them all down a notch.

About half the time, the underminer is the underminer due to a brutal terminal illness known as shitty human syndrome. Other times however, unfortunate circumstance and/or unresolved feelings of constantly getting “screwed” forces the underminer into the one role he or she didn’t audition for. An unnatural fit through and through. It’d be as if Liam Neeson replaced Danny McBride in This Is The End.

Whether it’s never trying in drills or sitting on gchat for 95% of the workday, this is a person whose primary role has devolved from contributing, productive group member, to person with a “Danger: Do Not Approach” sign metaphorically dangling over them at all times. It’s a bummer on all fronts.

If You Need to Get Irrationally Pumped Up About Something, Eminem & Nate Dogg’s ‘Till I Collapse’ Is a Great Call 


This article was brought to you by a former high school basketball player who, as an undersized power-forward, led the county in fouls.

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