Column: Eric Sondheimer's 2023 New Year's resolutions for high school sports

Column: Eric Sondheimer's 2023 New Year's resolutions for high school sports
Venice football coach Angelo Gasca holds his right hand over his heart during the national anthem before a game.

Venice football coach Angelo Gasca just completed his 23rd year as head coach and 33rd season coaching in the City Section, showing dedication and sacrifice to his community.

(Craig Weston)

These are my resolutions for high school sports in 2023:

  • To single out parents who cheer for their sons, daughters and coaches without criticizing officials.
  • To salute athletes who quietly and anonymously work hard when no one is watching.
  • To find teams that win with neighborhood kids.
  • To find coaches who don’t claim they developed a player who suddenly shows up as a transfer student and then gets a scholarship offer.
  • To praise pitchers who throw strikes and not be wooed by pitchers who throw hard but walk five batters in games.
  • To appreciate running backs and receivers for making a fantastic block as enthusiastically as scoring a touchdown.
Trent Perry of Harvard-Westlake takes a charging foul.

Trent Perry of Harvard-Westlake takes a charging foul.

(Nick Koza)

  • To salute basketball players who think taking a charge is more important than making a dunk.

Former JSerra basketball player DJ Rodman has taken 18 charging fouls for Washington State. Respect!

— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) January 6, 2023

  • To learn why lacrosse players think they are better than any other sport.
  • To understand why pass interference is not called when it’s obvious.
  • To explain why parents think moving from school to school prepares their child for becoming an adult.
  • To appreciate great matchups while not worrying that TV timeouts are ruining my deadline.
  • To celebrate the final year of high school football in which invisible numbers on jerseys are legal knowing all the Oregon Ducks uniform copycats will be gone in 2024.

I’m never going to apologize for pointing out positive things involving race or religion even though others get upset! Sports is about embracing both in a true safety zone even though sometimes nonbelievers try to intervene.

— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) December 5, 2022

  • To appreciate how much better girls shoot free throws than boys.
  • To enjoy talking to athletes who care more about the love of their sport than how many Instagram followers they have.

On behalf of EHS Football, we are extremely grateful to all our supporters! We are especially grateful to our EHS Alumni and largest contributor, NFL’s very own, Marvin Jones Jr.! Your generous “Ring Fund” contribution got us to our goal, instantly! @MarvinJonesJr @EtiwandaRed

— Etiwanda High Football – Coach: Nick Baiz (@EtiwandaFB) December 29, 2022

  • To salute professional athletes who always remember where they started and continue to give back to their local high school.
  • To better explain that the California state football playoffs are not really state championship games but mere bowl games.
  • To never forget the sacrifices it takes to be a coach in the City Section.
  • To appreciate every top athlete who stayed in the City Section and proved you can earn a college scholarship through effort in the classroom and on the field.
  • To learn how to identify a balk in baseball, offside in soccer and a held ball in volleyball.
  • To figure out why some principals don’t return phone calls from sportswriters.
  • To single out multisport athletes.
  • To understand better why some coaches and administrators think using profanity is acceptable when addressing high school athletes.
  • To provide more understanding about the importance of having athletic trainers.
  • To remind coaches to stop catering only to players who are college prospects and start paying more attention to those who show up on time every day to practice, get A’s on their report cards and are ready to run through a brick wall for the good of the team.
  • To encourage more athletes to focus on opportunities off the field in preparation for the day sports end, such as joining a school’s broadcasting team, helping coach lowerlevel teams and volunteering to mentor a freshman student.
  • To never apologize for supporting those coaches who deserve a chance to break racial barriers at private schools when the people doing the hiring make excuses year after year because they simply don’t search hard enough.
  • To remind every coach and every parent that I’m always willing to listen, learn and tell stories that will make a difference in the lives of our great Southern California communities.

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Eric Sondheimer is the prep sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He has been honored seven times by the California Prep Sportswriters Assn. for best prep sports column.

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