Editorial: High school sports are the best kind

Published 9:52 am Thursday, March 21, 2013

March is a good time of year to remember what is right with sports.

We’re not talking about big-time professional sports, where billionaire owners fight with millionaire players over the oodles of dough they make from fans who stayed glued to TV screens and fill stadium seats just to have a little time away from life’s toils and troubles.

We’re not even talking about amateur Division I college sports, where universities and TV networks make mounds of money featuring competitions between unpaid athletes.

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What we are talking about is high school sports. It’s easy to spot a true sports fan. They are the ones who might pay attention to college and pro contests, but it is the high school matches they are interested in. They go to the games. They listen to the radio broadcasts. They read the reports in the local papers. These type of sports fans can be found all across America, and they often are parents who have children on the teams.

In high school, the athletes are playing the games purely because they love the sport. The contests are held not to make dollars but because of the simple belief that sports are good for the development of our youth.

Moreover, the athletes listen to the coaches. They respect the officials and each other. Students in the stands display school pride, and, usually, display good sportsmanship, too.

These sports teams are formed and competitions held because sports, whether basketball or track or football, build lessons for life, such as staying fit, working as a team, conquering fears, being collegial, benefitting from practice, working through defeat, forming strategy and, in the best situations, finding the mindset it takes to become a champion.

The girls’ basketball team at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva High School reminds us of all of these qualities. We would like to add our voice to the many others who have congratulated the Panthers on their state championship. And we want to add that we greatly admire the fine display of amateur sportsmanship the team, the school and the community put on during this entire championship season.

These are the times that remind us why we love to feature high school sports in the Albert Lea Tribune.