AFTER THE WHISTLE

Thanks for the memories

— By late Saturday afternoon, all the cheers will have faded away, the crowds will have filtered out of Jefferson County Stadium and the high school sports season will have come to a close for Steamboat Springs High School.

While the location of the championships has changed over the years, the state track meet has always marked the end of cycle that, believe it or not, was not designed to produce state champions.

The track meet marks the end of a project that began with fall training last August when the football, volleyball, soccer and cross country teams began a quest for a state title.

But the real role of high school sports is about more than winning. The real role is to teach students about fair play and competition.

Organizers, coaches and parents hope that by playing sports, students will learn more than just how to win and lose. We hope they learn how to be better people, how to overcome adversity and how to succeed in life.

The games the students play in the course of a year are different, the rules vary and each of the team's goals is different.

But the idea of teaching kids remains the same.

This Saturday one cycle will come to an end, but don't worry, because another will begin next August.

In Steamboat we are lucky to have veteran coaches like Mark Drake, Wendy Hall, Kelly Meek and Rob Bohlmann to guide the way for the next class.

This week hundreds of runners, jumpers and throwers will gather near Denver and in Pueblo to focus on one last shot at winning a state title.

Not all of them will win on the track. But all of the students and the community of Steamboat Springs wins just because these kids took part.

In today's world of overpaid professional athletes, and spoiled college prima donnas, high school athletes offer a fresh perspective.

It is one of the last places that can offer the student athlete a unique opportunity to learn from sports and to become a better person.

In this cycle, the winners are not paid with million dollars contracts, commercial endorsements or huge bonuses.

In the high school arena the winners are paid with life-long memories, and if they are lucky, maybe a medal or a trophy.

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