August 26, 2019

Column: A sport fan I may yet become

Posted

When I interviewed for my job at the Herald I was asked a question I dreaded to hear.

“How familiar are you with high school sports?” Editor Eric Young asked.

Zip, zero, zilch, nada was my answer.

Unlike the majority of my peers, I have never had an interest in sports, high school or otherwise.

Although my answer was obviously not a deal-breaker for employment, being selected for a job that required me to photograph and report on high school sports regularly, I had quite an uphill battle ahead of me.

I had a rudimentary understanding of how the games were played and scored and some of the terminology to go along with that. However, I was still left with a general disinterest of the games, which made my time on the sidelines a bit dull.

Fortunately, that boredom has waned and I may just become a sports fan yet.

Prior to being on the job, what I knew of sports was what you see on television or hear on the radio — essentially the mostly dull or overly embellished commentary of a former player.

From the sidelines of the high school games, I learned there is much more to high school sports than what I had previously understood. High school sports are full of emotion, grit and determination.

A few weeks ago I stood on the sidelines of the softball district finals in Mio as the Lady Thunderbolts duked it out with the Au Gres-Sims Lady Wolverines — both schools our papers cover on a weekly basis.

Left without a side to choose, I stood by and just watched as the emotions grew during a game that would ultimately go 10 innings.

At the end of the seventh the score of the game was tied 4-4. During the next three innings I watched as the two equals stood nose-to-nose and hammered at each other.

I am not certain if it was because of the game, the players or the friends and family on the sidelines, but the tension in the air could have been cut with a knife.

In the final inning a Mio pitcher stood on the mound and was visibly stressed knowing that one wrong move could end the game for either team. Meanwhile, batter after batter from Au Gres stood at the plate waiting for the opportunity to drive one home.

It was in the top of the 10th that Mio batters got the opportunity to put a runner across the plate and take the one-run lead. Again, the Mio pitcher found herself on the mound defending the team’s lead, which would eventually earn them the district title.

The schools we cover are not large in numbers, but I have a hard time believing anyone anywhere can top their spirit. Parents stood on the sidelines of that game literally in tears for the emotions their children were experiencing in the game. The players faced what might be the last opportunity to see their efforts through, and in the end the players exchanged high fives, handshakes and hugs, knowing they each gave their all and it remains on the field.

High school sports are some of the finest entertainment anyone can have, and frankly, the world needs to learn from the determination and heart the players have.

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Julie Money

Well written and insightful, Scott.

Thursday, July 4 | Report this

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