Cheers to vaping education, jeers to assuming athletes will get better with age

Cheers to Polk County Public Health educating students about the dangers of vaping in the classroom
    Staff from Polk County Public Health spoke to Crookston High School students this week about the youth vaping epidemic across the country, often taking place right in the schools.

    There have been many incidents where students are caught vaping in class, in bathrooms, and in the parking lot. The Public Health representatives were sent to educate students about the dangers of nicotine and the overall risks of vaping.  

    Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol produced by an e-cigarette, Vape Pen, JUUL, or similar devices. The term “vape” is used because the e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, although each vape juice cartridge is equal to 200 cigarette puffs, the same as smoking a pack a day, the devices produce an aerosol, which is often mistaken for water vapor. The vapor is made up of particles that contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to respiratory and heart disease, as well as cancer.             

    Polk County Public Health is taking the time to inform the student body of the dangers of this popular but life-threatening trend.

    Cheers to Public Health education.
– Anna Huck, student writer

Jeers to simply assuming athletes will improve with age
    No one who ever succeeded in anything did so from the lone act of getting older, whether it is speaking, writing, building or playing sports. In regards to sports, yes, maturity in age and the body assists one in improving. But by itself, aging a year or two will not help an athlete shoot a three-point basket or throw a football. Unfortunately, many people in Crookston believe this to be the case. Too many times, it has been uttered, “Well, they’re a young team. They’ll be good in a few years.”

    Measuring success in high school sports presents a challenge. On one hand, students, coaches and fans want to see a winning team. On the other, the realization should set in that high school sports are exactly that. High school. None of the athletes play on scholarship or fight for a long-term contract. They play for the camaraderie, team-building and enjoyment of the sport. Whether they win or lose, very rarely is a coach’s job is in jeopardy (with the exception of Texas high school football) and no player faces the fear of being released or seeing their scholarship vanish.

    This fall season, sans sugarcoat, the Pirates teams have struggled. Across six sports, the teams own a combined record of 14-56-2 through October 3.

    Without drawing conclusions or making assumptions, underclassmen comprise the majority of Crookston’s rosters this fall. By defining an “underclassmen” as anyone younger than a junior, only two teams’ rosters average age sits above that of a junior. Overall, the average age of athletes on varsity rosters this year lies just above the age of a sophomore. For all intents and purposes, the Pirates teams are young.

    As previously mentioned, an option exists to strive for a winning percentage in high school sports, but it is not imperative. Should a team decide they want to start a rebuild with their young team and make a run to be competitive in a few years, the last thing young kids need to hear is, “Well, they’re a young team. They’ll be good in a few years.” As if that is all it takes. All that does is reinforce the idea that an athlete need not put in hours at the gym, field or rink to improve. Just wait to get older, nothing can be done until then.

    If an athlete misses a three-point shot, drops a pass or strikes out as a sophomore and does nothing to improve except get older, chances are the result will be the same as a senior.
– Nolan Beilstein, sports editor