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The Two-Sport Athlete

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirms that it is indeed possible to excel in two sports at the high school level in today’s era of early specialization:

This area has been blessed with some standout two-sport athletes in recent years. Maybe this year’s crop isn’t at the level of former Jeannette two-sport wonder Terrelle Pryor, but there are a number of athletes proving that playing — and excelling — at two sports is still possible.

If you look at the top 50 scorers in WPIAL basketball this season, you’ll see about a dozen players who also were pretty fair football players.

Right, I know, Pryor can afford to play two sports because he is an exceptional athlete, but the average player cannot. Just like LeBron James. and Kobe Bryant. And Steve Nash. Oh wait, Nash is not considered an exceptional athlete, but he’s Canadian, so he doesn’t count, right? Those holding firm that one must specialize their athletic training right after potty training always have a reason why many of the best professional athletes played multiple sports during their youth, but the average player cannot.

Of course, it is crazy-talk to suggest that James, Pryor, Bryant, Nash and others developed into amazing athletes because they played multiple sports, not in spite of playing multiple sports.

“I would tell any kid to play more than one sport,” Thomas Jefferson’s Brock DeCiccois, a Pitt football recruit said. “The main reason I play basketball is because it’s fun. I love playing it. It’s always been my favorite sport.

“Even the strength coach at Pitt, Buddy Morris, told me to keep lifting weights, but that you’re not going to get better if all you do is play one sport and lift weights. He said to play a couple sports. It’s OK to concentrate on one sport, but it’s good to play more than one.”

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