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Former AD urges seniors to 'aim high'



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Lee Noftz, who served as Oxford’s Athletic Director from 1970-92, addressed the Class of 2011’s athletes last week. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
June 08, 2011 - A true legend and class act in the world of Wildcat sports addressed Oxford High School's senior athletes during last week's Booster awards ceremony.

Lee Noftz, who served as Oxford's very first athletic director from 1970-92, gave a terrific speech about life, competition, priorities and the future.

"In the future, you're going to be facing a lot of decisions," said Noftz, who once coached football, track and basketball for Oxford and will be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame later this year. "They're not always going to be easy, but you've prepared yourselves well, seniors.

"The fact that you've participated in athletics makes it easier for you to handle these decisions. The lessons you've learned on the courts and the fields in athletic competition will certainly service you well. Remember, be positive, believe in yourself, be true to yourself and never give up."

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Noftz reminded the seniors that every athletic contest they've ever participated in "has been life in microcosm."

"You give your best effort," he said. "Sometimes it's good enough to win. Sometimes it isn't. But isn't that life? We have our ups and downs."

To Noftz, win or lose, what really matters is these student-athletes weren't afraid to put themselves out there and as a result, they learned things beyond the classroom.

"Choosing to be an athlete is a bold choice," he said. "You're willing to take risks to be better.

"Every time you compete, you're going to learn something. And often times (we) learn more from our losses than we do from our victories."

Athletics teaches students the value of dedication and how to develop a "good work ethic," according to Noftz.

"You also learned that you had to budget your time between your family, your academics and your athletics," he said. "And I've always felt that was the order of things."

Noftz encouraged the senior athletes to "aim high" as they face their futures.

"Don't be afraid to dream," he said. "All you have to do is think about this year's wrestling team. Those men had a dream and they reached that dream.

"Remember, the greater the challenge, the sweeter the victory."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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