In world of sports, there are plenty of reasons to give thanks


Thanksgiving is a time to talk about turkey and offer thanks for loved ones. It’s a wonderful holiday and chance to forget differences

Many people reflect and offer thanks for health, wealth and happiness, but many times it’s those little things that are taken for granted that we should be thankful for — for instance, hugs and friends that are like family.

There are myriad little things in sports to be grateful for and probably many individuals/actions that also deserve thanks.

Here are just a few:

• Upsets: Seems like most people root for underdogs, and to see that team or individual surprise a highly regarded opponent is enjoyable — unless you are a fan of the favorite.

• Rallies: Seeing a team come from behind to win is fulfilling.

• Last-second victories: Nothing is better than a close, competitive game that comes down to the waning seconds.

• Teamwork: I once heard and agree that teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to produce uncommon results, which translates from athletics to life.

• Taking concussions seriously: Finally coaches are not asking a player how many fingers he or she sees and then sending them back into the game after saying “he had his bell rung.”

• Following directions: Players who listen and do as told will be ahead of the games presented by life.

• Decision-making: Making those quick decisions during a game or match or those choices that have to be made with a little reasoning can also be a help later in life.

• Self-confidence: Another attribute that is needed to be successful in athletics that will also help in real life.

• Learning from mistakes: Admitting a mistake and learning from it so that the same mistake can be avoided in the future.

Sticking with gymnastics

In hindsight, Amber Boll is probably thankful for her decision to stick with gymnastics.

The senior at Lakewood High School was the individual champion in five events at the 5A State Gymnastics Meet held Nov. 1-3.

“I mainly started gymnastics because I was really clumsy as a baby,” recalled Boll. “My parents took me in to get me more in touch with my body and all that stuff. I am still clumsy.

“When I was little I actually started swimming and I had to choose between gymnastics and swimming and I chose gymnastics.”

Boll won the all-around (39.125) title and then came back to capture individual championships on the balance beam (9.600), floor exercise (9.850), uneven bars (9.850) and vault (10.000).

Yes, she had a perfect 10 on the vault which was the first 10 at the state meet in 30 years since Broomfield Carol Ulrich won the floor exercise with a 10 in 1988.

“I had a lot of time to reflect after it happened and I was getting a lot of attention,” said Boll. “It really made me think about what I actually did and how sensational it was. Whenever I’m doing an event, I think about how I can be the best that I can be. I don’t focus on the score, I just focus on the technique and that really helps.

“I was thrilled with the 10. I got one last year at the regionals. I was trying to repeat that and had to stay really focused. On Thursday I got a 9.9 in the all-around (vault) so I knew that I could get a 10.”

Boll, whose father was a Marine, is planning to follow his lead into the military.

“I’m planning on attending the Air Force Academy,” she said. “Right now I have a verbal commitment to the gymnastics team and I’m planning on going there next year. I’ve always wanted to do gymnastics in college and I always wanted to serve. So I thought about how I could combine those two.

“It seems as though the Air Force Academy was the best choice for me. It could push me to be the best that I could be and give me benefits and be great to my community.”

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton


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