Baseball legend visits Warriors

Published 9:50 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It’s not about the outcome of the game, but the lessons learned through the sport, former Mississippi State University Baseball Coach Ron Polk told more than 100 people gathered in the Thompson High School gym Feb. 3.

Polk, who coached at Mississippi State and the University of Georgia, has won more games in any sport in the history of the Southeastern Conference.

But during his speech to the Thompson High School baseball team, Polk briefly spoke of his sports career, and instead focused on the importance of staying in school and making the right decisions.

“The next three to six years of your life will determine what you will be for the rest of your life,” Polk told the baseball team as dozens of parents and baseball fans listened on. “And you boys definitely have distractions outside of school.”

Polk encouraged the students to shun peers who often party and try to “take them away from their goals.”

“If you fall for what they want you to do, they can take you away from the most important years of your lives,” Polk said. “If you make a mistake now, you can go back and change things if you want to.

“But when you get to be 21 and 22 years old, you can’t go back,” Polk added. “The most important years of your life are right here.”

The longtime baseball coach also told the teens to enjoy the sport and keep it in perspective.

“There are more important things in life than that scoreboard. It’s a game,” Polk said. “Winning a baseball game is not the best thing in the world.

“And parents, since it’s a game, let them enjoy it,” he added. “Don’t ring their necks if they strike out. Remember, they are young men, but they are still boys.”