Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 13 March 2007 23:19
We overemphasize its importance at times, but athletics can put an entire community on the same team.
It’s good to ask ourselves once in a while if we attach too much importance on athletic competition, particularly at the high school level. The answer is probably yes—at least some of us do. At the same time, to witness the positive impact athletic competition and school pride can have on an entire community is to see that the issue is more complex than the critics might suggest.
Last week’s state tournament runs by the Hillsboro High School girls and the Goessel High School boys had a powerful effect on both communities. People who otherwise follow disparate agenda suddenly came together around a common cause. Through the week we conversed, carpooled, cheered, and ate out afterward. At least for a few days, we were all on the same team. Our team.
It’s probably unfair to lay the burden of community-building on the shoulders of our young women and men who, in this case, don the maroon-and-gold or the blue-and-white. It’s certainly not their responsibility to generate it. But when it happens, we should be grateful for the gift they give us. And it is a gift—not something we’ve earned or deserve or should expect.
So thank you, Trojan girls and Bluebird boys for leading us to a good place. And thank you, HHS Chess Guild for broadening the parameters of that arena. Whether you won it all, or didn’t, you made us proud and brought us together. —DR