Athletics: Why They Matter at Cornhusker Boys State
While at Boys State, young men apply themselves in different ways but athletics allow some of them to show their skills no matter how loud or quiet they are. Athletics have been around since the conception of Boys State and there have been many memories created because of this. In my interview with Larry Frost, the athletic director of Boys State for the past fifty years, he listed off a few moments from memory which stood out to him. Frost says, “One year we weren’t able to have the track meet due to rain and that gave us quite a headache.” On a personal level, one of his favorite moments included him winning the Outstanding Athlete award in 1964 as a member of the town of Alamo. A couple of past recipients of the Outstanding Athlete award include important names such as Gerry Gdowski, who later became a Nebraska Cornhusker playing football under Tom Osborne from 1987-1989. Another name which carries some weight is Ben Zajicek who played as a Wide Receiver for Nebraska in their 2001 National Runner Up season. While only one person is recognized as the Outstanding Athlete, many different boys participate in the athletic activities: sand volleyball, softball, football, basketball, and the annual track meet.
Frost says that the reason why Cornhusker Boys State is special for having sports is because of the friendships which form due to the competition. To this day, he has a friend who he hunts and fishes with, whom he met at Cornhusker Boys State. On the question of whether or not athletics have ever been considered getting rid of, Frost says there have been no complaints from former Boys Staters to get rid of athletics and with the amount of good that comes from athletics. Frost also says that the track meet is probably his favorite event to watch.
On the topic of facilities, the improvement over the years has been incredible. In the beginning, the boys at Boys State were only allowed in one gym for all activities. As well as using one gym for four sports, the track meet was originally run on a concrete track. Years later, all four sports are given their separate facilities. This vast improvement in facilities has led to further participation.
Throughout all of the lessons learned in Boys State, some of the most important, according to Frost, are learned through sports. Learning how to communicate and cooperate with teammates is a must in order to be successful in athletics. The best of the best are able to seperate themselves and show their leadership skills. Most importantly, building friendships through the competition and keeping them throughout, not just Boys State, but for the rest of their lives.