Academics and athletics go hand in hand

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Rodney Harwood

I can remember sitting in music awareness class in college listening to Chopin playing some classic piece of music known throughout the ages by everybody, but me and the couple of dozen kids sitting in this class. Why do we need to know this stuff if it’s not our major field of study? Besides, Elton John can play better than this. “... I know, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but I like it …” It never occurred to me until several years later, that if you want to be considered a higher educated person, you need to know or at least be exposed to topics outside your area of interest. Now days, my calculator takes care of my mathematical inadequacies. Spellcheck covers a multitude of spelling and grammar sins. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of what do I need this for? Once I get out and get a job, I’ll never need to know this stuff again. Maybe, maybe not. I have little doubt there’s guys out there pounding nails or selling real estate that make more money than I do. Makes me wonder why I even have a bachelor’s degree? But I did learn at a young age, it’s all part of the deal. You want a job at a newspaper or magazine, the degree is the avenue. Same holds true with student athletes, you want to play you have to show up in the classroom and work as hard as you do in the competitive arena. Royal City superstar Michael Rojas was recruited to play Pac-12 soccer at University of Washington. It is a fact that the son of immigrant parents has NCAA Division I soccer skills. But UW doesn’t bother with kids that can’t that are a ghost when it comes to the classroom. Academics set up the athletics and Rojas is a fine example to every kid working in the orchards, honorable work to be sure, that there is another avenue to travel if you study hard. I would think I’m not the only one that is happy to see Wahluke junior Oscar Rodriguez back on the football field. Rodriguez came out of the box firing against Kiona-Benton, where he passed for five touchdown passes in the 50-13 win. He was 15-of-32 passing for 388 yards, earning the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (didn’t even need spell check to get through that one) Player of the Week in Week 5. I’m not one to pussyfoot around saying academic ineligibility, but I am happy to see Rodriguez got things sorted in the classroom and now he’s back to being a part of something special called Warrior Football. “This is how we’re going to play going forward, for sure,” first-year head coach Ryan Antos said. “As long as we stay healthy and we have Oscar, we’re going to roll.” Rodriguez made up for lost time with a huge day, hitting Isaac Sanchez for 172 yards and two touchdowns. “Oscar threw the ball really well and they kept playing man-to-man defense,” Antos said. “Sanchez had six catches for 172 yards. But all our receivers had a big day, because they were stacking box trying to take away the run game.” I look forward to seeing Wahluke football take its place in the top four of the SCAC East and advance to the 1A state playoffs. You only get to do this once, might as well work hard in the classroom to get there.

Rodney Harwood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and writes a weekly column for the Sun Tribune. He can be reached at rharwood@columbiabasinherald.com

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