Why are they laughing, they're not even playing..

By Rich Winter

Alright, so last evening I was playing pickle-ball with a couple of buddies of mine. During the four games we played, there was a young man on the next court shooting basketball. Our pickle-balls rolled to his side of the court a few times so I said hello…found out his name was Abdula…and gave him a couple of whoop-whoops after he made baskets. When he got bored of basketball, the young man started watching up play pickle ball, and even spent most of the last two games grabbing errant balls from us (Saved my back).

Just as we got sat down to chill for a moment, Abdula, now playing hoops again asked, “Does anyone want to play.”

I paused, looked at my buddies, felt my sore achilles tendon and said, “Sure.”

As I shuffled over to the basket, Abdula looks at me real serious and says, “Do u want to get your ankles broke.”

Didn’t quite register so I said huh?

“Do u want to get your ankles broke?”

(inside lol), outside, “It’s on.”

True to his word the 10-year old had some shimmy shake to him, and right out of the gate, he banked in a tough runner….

OOOOOOOHHHHH, was the reply of my buddies.

We played for about five minutes, his sister joined in to make it 2-on-1…

My buddies, as they are wont to do, kept heckling me…Missed shot, BOO….turnover….BA-HA-Ha

I was kinda heckling them back and Abdula looked at me and said…

“Why are they laughing, they’re not even playing”

Love it when young folks spout words of wisdom…

Really wanted to encourage young people across South Dakota to try new things this spring and summer. Some of the greatest battles don’t always occur at the front of the pack.

Pictured at left is former Todd County track and cross-country coach Tonya Whirlwind Soldier. Tonya passed away last December after a long battle with cancer. Tonya was always motivating youth to get out for sports, keep their grades up and just get out there and try things. She cheered for her fastest and slowest runners equally and over the last decade, cross-country and girls track has seen a boon in numbers.

Pictured with Tonya is Todd County senior Brandon Whipple.

Young Whipple has been a member of the TC cross and track teams for the last four years. He’s never come close to winning a race, and after toiling on the jv cross-country team for three years this young man made it to the state meet with the Todd County boys team. Brandon won’t win any races this spring and he may not make the state track meet, BUT, he’s grown up, opened up and become part of something to work at getting better at.

Dream big young people: Did you all know someone told Class A Player-of-the-Year, Raven Cournoyer she would never be a varsity player?

Don’t let what other people whisper, or chuckle or tease have any bearing on participation.

Be you, do you and be the best version of you…