When the baseball teams representing Marion and Hillsboro high schools took the field in the first round of last week’s regional tournament, in reality 80 percent of Marion County’s school district’s were competing on the field. Marion and Centre were united under a cooperative agreement between the two districts, and so were Peabody-Burns and Hillsboro. Marion and Peabody-Burns have a similar agreement when it comes to golf.

Some may say such partnerships are simply a way to prop up athletic programs that have been struggling to main­tain manageable roster sizes because of dwindling interest or general enrollment. Our observation this spring has been that players from the participating schools foster a positive familiarity with the “foreign” teammates they encounter. Who knows, breaking down stereotypes during the teen years may carry over to adult cooperation someday. —DR

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