"I, myself, lean towards the camp where I feel the full, classical olympic lifts, while extraordinarily cool, also take a significant time to master, and need to be considered on with a cost-to-benefit ratio."
I think you're right. When I first went to the coach, I was trying to get more explosive for hockey and also just develop the technique to do some of the WODs. Then the joys of O lifting hooked me (like John) and I realized that this could be a sport that I could do for years which would build power, strength and flexibility at the same time.
But if you are training to be a football, hockey or rugby player, I suspect it would be better to just do power cleans, presses and front/back squats.