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Doubters shouldn't diminish Miner's efforts

March 04, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

"David Miner is a great athlete, but ..."

It is impossible for me to accurately state the number of times I've heard this sentence - and I'll even confess to saying it a few times myself.

I've heard it said that the people you remember in life are the ones that polarize a room. They're the ones whom, when they walk through the door, half the people believe can do no wrong and the other half believe can do no right.

As if it needs to be said again, Miner is without question one of the best high school athletes ever to play in Washington County. He's on the verge of setting the public schools scoring record - odds are good he'll get it tonight - and according to his baseball coaches, local major league scouts believe he'll be selected in the early rounds of June's amateur draft, with a significant signing bonus very much in the realm of possibility.

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That doesn't stop his critics from pointing out everything from his cornrows and tattoos to incidents that happened as long as a year ago.

When it comes to Miner, we're all human. We see the fiery, ultra-competitive personality, and also the displays of showmanship - the fist-clenching, head-bobbing and jersey-tugging - that some argue is poor sportsmanship. We remember his spectacular touchdown throws and scrambles, his breathtaking dunks, his pitching and hitting and hustle on the baseball diamond, while also remembering the controversial moments, such as the time he tried to save a basketball from going out of bounds and threw it into an opponent's head, or the time he tagged out a baserunner up high near the head.

We see, we remember, and we judge ... and in the process we sometimes forget that Miner is very much human, too, making the always-difficult journey from childhood to adulthood. Most of us are fortunate to make that journey in relative privacy. Because of the talent Miner possesses, he has traveled and likely will continue to travel that road in the public eye. How thankful most of us should be that we didn't have to.

Miner has - and will always have - his doubters, those who believe he is one step, one moment, one decision from throwing his vast athletic potential away.

Personally, I find it hard to root against a fellow human, no matter who it is.

My hope is Miner finishes high school armed with some of life's lessons and attacks the future much like he attacks opposing linebackers, guards or hitters - with tenacity, fearlessness and an overwhelming desire to succeed.

My hope is, somewhere down the road, I can tell my grandkids I covered David Miner without having to explain to them who he was.

Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at kauffman@herald-mail.com.

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