Part of what I love about high school sports is it is so positive. There's no business pressure to
succeed to meet some monetary bottom line. High school sports is all fun, with the athletes playing for
the joy of the game. Sure, some of the players have scholarships in their future, but for most of them
there will be no organized sports after high school.
So there I was shooting the Mitty - Bellarmine game last week in the Bells gym. As the Mitty
Monarchs took the court a young man sitting near where I was standing on the court started yelling at
Aaron Gordon. What he was yelling doesn't matter as much as the fact it was really negative stuff. This
was during warm ups.
After a few minutes I asked the young man, who was probably 20 years old why he was hating on my
friend Aaron. He really had no answer accept he was jealous of Aaron's skills and wanted to see him
fail. I told him I think Aaron is a really good person and deserves some respect.
During the game the young man kept yelling, though the crowd was loud and I don't think Aaron
heard most of it. Gordon had a typical fine game with 28 points in the Mitty win. Throughout the game
Gordon was double and triple teamed, hit hard every time he touched the ball, and never complained.
This is what Aaron gets wherever he goes no matter what he does. He is 17 years old and has the world
watching his every move. This is the part of high school sports I don't love. This kind of pressure on a
teenager is not fair to him. I spent a day with Aaron last year following him around from breakfast at
home, to school, to a game. He is genuine, friendly, and just plain nice. I hope he can stay that way as
he narrows down the list of schools he is considering for his college experience.
For most high school athletes, this pressure off the court is just not there. So the next time you are at
a Mitty game and someone is giving Aaron a hard time remind them this is high school sports being
played by teenagers. Aaron Gordon might someday be a superstar, but right now he's just another
teenager playing for his high school with his buddies.