Waco Tribune-Herald: The athletic factor (Editorial)

May 29, 2012

Editorial reprinted with the permission of The Waco Tribune-Herald.

May 25, 2012

No one's made too big a deal of it yet, so allow us. With the Baylor University baseball team's 11-1 win over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament Wednesday, the school tied the University of Texas for most wins, 123, in the "big four" sports of football, men's basketball, women's basketball and baseball over the course of a school year. Baylor is now poised to break that record.

Baylor's football team went 10-3 this season and won the Alamo Bowl with standout quarterback Robert Griffin III leading the way. The men's basketball team went 30-8 and reached the Elite Eight; women's basketball swept through a 40-0 national championship season. The baseball team, the Big 12 regular-season champion, is 43-13 after Thursday's game.

Should all this matter, especially when so much else in higher education seems under stress? We believe so. Yes, some of our friends contend athletics should not rank above priorities such as academics and research in terms of publicity or investment. But that argument neglects something that cements allegiances well after graduation and draws a limelight that encourages yet new interest, new students and even new investment. Locally, that "something" is known as the "Baylor Experience."

That experience forges our attitude on the field of athletic competition and determines how we deal with wins and losses. It lends us qualities to help address the consequences of both victory and defeat, allowing us to greet new crises further down the winding road of life.

In the past year, we've seen inspiring players and coaches at the height of their skills and against formidable odds, somehow pulling out victory after victory. Can we not embrace the best of their example in discipline and resolve to be better in our own lives? If we can, then we've learned something rare and invaluable.