Hard work pays off

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2017

As young children, we often hear the same phrases repeated by our parents and other family members. My parents told me to stay in school and to keep my grades up. They told me not to talk to strangers, to mind my manners and to treat others the way I wanted to be treated.

But most importantly, they taught me that hard work pays off.

I focus most of my writing around the sports in Selma and Dallas County, and not surprisingly, I watch a lot of sports too. Almost every moment in my life can be compared to a sports moment, and I use sports analogies for everything.

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Like most people, I love stories where someone overcomes the odds, wins big and shocks us all, whether that be in the business world or on a field or court in the sports world. Sunday is a good example, when Sergio Garcia won The Masters nearly two decades after his professional career began.

Garcia’s career resume had pretty much been written.

He was a good golfer who always seemed to have bad luck — or poor execution — in the biggest moments. Many had written him off, thinking that at age 37 that his time had passed.

Instead, he won in a playoff Sunday, completely rewriting his career summary. He’ll always be known as a Masters champion now and can play at Augusta National as far into the future as he wants.

To put Garcia’s accomplishment into perspective for non-golf fans, consider that Tiger Woods won 14 major championships from 1997-2008.  Garcia, who burst onto the stage in 1999 when he battled Woods for the PGA Championship, just won his first major in 2017.  If anything, Garcia’s major championship proves that hard work pays off, but sometimes it takes a little bit of time.

Locally, the Morgan Academy tennis teams proved that on Tuesday, when they defeated Tuscaloosa Academy and the rest of the Alabama Independent School Association, to sweep the state tennis titles.

Morgan has finished second in the state the last handful of years, which is a remarkable achievement. There can be a mental block sometimes when a team has your number, but the Senators just went out there and simply played tennis on Tuesday. This year Morgan was able to break through and win both crowns, including a shared title in girls’ tennis with Tuscaloosa.

“They are a great group of kids that knew they had to put the work in to win state, and they were willing to do it,” said Morgan coach Baxter Stinson.

Some of the players said it meant a little more to win it more this year after being so close for so many years.

Others said it was a different team and a different season.

Either way, congrats to the Morgan tennis teams, the new state champs. The hard work the team put into practice and into matches this year paid off in a big way.