Jason Simmons is the head coach of Noblesville High School's football team. As I discussed the importance of sports with him, I noticed his faith in the ability of sports to make a difference. His description of why sports are important to him is inspiring:

"There are so many life lessons embedded in them. Humility, respect, teamwork, and perseverance are things that are taught and learned through sports. Those characteristics, along with others, are things we all need throughout our lives to be 'difference-making people.'"

I was curious to hear why Simmons was interested in football in particular:

"I have been in and around the sport of football since I was six. Learning how to get knocked down, get back up, and compete again is what has kept me in football. No other sport I played grew me more as an individual. The life lessons of embracing work, competing, growing through adversity, and the importance of a team are real in the sport. It's easy to have individual success in other sports. It takes eleven players performing as one for one football play to work."

Simmons has not only learned these important lessons himself, but he helps teach them to his players:

"I want to be a coach because of the opportunities to make a difference in the lives of young people. My coaches growing up, outside of my parents, had the biggest impact on my life. I would not be where I am today without the coaches that I have been blessed with in my career."

As a coach, Simmons is sometimes challenged to keep the true meaning of sports alive in his athletes. He realizes the pivotal role everyone can play as a sports fan:

"It is important to be a fan of sports because our young people need the support. They need to know someone cares. This is a tough age for teenagers to be competing in sports because everything now is scholarship driven or the "look-at-me" culture of travel sports. Those two things are taking the purity out of interscholastic competition. Less and less kids are playing for their teammates and the name on the front of the jersey. That is one of the toughest challenges that coaches face in these times. I enjoy watching our Noblesville student-athletes compete in every sport they play. It's important to be a fan so we can continue to encourage our kids to have fun, compete, and stay involved."

Help encourage Noblesville athletes this semester...

I want to hear from you! If you are interested in telling me why you think sports are important and being featured in my column, send me an email at

Megan Rosta is a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago hoping to major in Creative Writing or Journalism. She is a resident of Fishers, Ind. and is an avid sports fan.