James Jones column: Competition always brings out the best

Published 2:23 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2024

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It was brought to my attention last week that a school did not play a student-athlete because a coach allegedly preferred one child over another.

Whether I believe the allegations or not, I am not going to reveal the school nor the coach. I do not believe the accusation, especially when some coaches are under intense pressure to win now or face the unemployment line.

Nobody loves competition more than myself. Whether it is a game of checkers, chess or dancing contests, job tasks or predicting the outcome of sporting events, I love matching wits with someone.

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What I do not like is not getting a fair chance to compete when one person has already been chosen for the spot. That tactic may work in professional wrestling, but not here.

For most of my life, I often battled for spots in high school, college and employment opportunities. I have plenty of examples to share.

When I joined my high school football team 40 years ago. I spent the month of August competing with the top-rated college football prospect of the Class of 1987. One guy came in two weeks before the season opener and got to travel with the team while I did not. I still have the scars won by facing a person about a foot taller than me. I often lost those battles, but the fight made me tough. 

On the few occasions I talk to youth groups in Dallas County or parts of West Alabama, I always tell the kids to create their best path for future success. Sometimes you will find somebody who has your best interest at heart. Other times, you will not. 

I was fortunate enough to have a few people growing up that cared about me becoming successful. I won in the end and you can too. Having support to jumpstart a person in life usually works. When you make it, always thank those who helped.