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High school sports provide life-long lessons

Jon Mitchell
jmitchell@postindependent.com
Jon Mitchell
Staff Photo |

I’m a fan of sports.

Yes. I’ll admit. That’s probably the “DUH!” statement of the year coming from a sports editor.

I don’t mind stating the obvious, but my obvious statement comes for a not-so-obvious reason.

I’m a fan of sports not only for the entertainment aspect, but for the human and drama aspects as well.

Those things all came full-circle this past Saturday at Glenwood Springs High School when Glenwood’s football team lost to Delta in the quarterfinal round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

The Demons lost what equated to a great, great high school football game that could have gone either way. As bad as someone can feel for the Demons coming just 2 yards short of recording the game-winning touchdown run in Glenwood’s 13-9 loss this past Saturday, it was a euphoric moment for a Panthers’ defense that stood tough with the team on the brink of elimination.

It’s safe to say there wasn’t one person sitting down in the final minutes of that game at Stubler Memorial Field, and it wasn’t because the seats were wet.

The same dramatic aspect could be said for Rifle’s football team, which led Coronado 17-0 early in the second quarter of the Bears’ first-round 3A playoff game before the Cougars — a school with an enrollment of more than 1,300 kids that was playing down a level because of its previous struggles at the 4A level — forced three Rifle turnovers to turn things in their favor in Rifle’s 34-31 setback.

Then there’s the volleyball and boys soccer teams at Coal Ridge. The boys soccer team lost in the 3A quarterfinals, and the volleyball team lost in pool play after it took on next-level talent in its first trip to the 3A State Championships.

So, do those unceremonious ends to those respective seasons take anything away from what Glenwood, Rifle, Coal Ridge, or any team in Garfield County accomplished this year? Absolutely not.

Does it justify what’s great about sports and, in this instance, high school sports in particular? Absolutely.

As an adult, you find out an awful lot about working endlessly to reach a certain place you want to be in life. Everyone has goals, whether it’s getting the job they want, having the perfect spouse, getting a quality education or, maybe, even seeing something good happen for a loved one.

Then there’s the disappointment aspect. I’m sure there’s plenty of adults out there who have come close to landing their dream job or close to buying their dream house, for example, only to come up, well, 2 yards short.

I’m a fan of storybook endings. Unfortunately, those are hard to come by. Having everything fall into place the way you want it to in the sports arena is about as difficult and rare as someone’s life going exactly the way they want it to.

That’s what makes high school sports so great.

When a team is successful, they can take those memories an apply them later in life, using whatever approach they previously used to set the foundation for future success. Lessons even trickle down to players on unsuccessful teams, who can use the adversity they overcame to fight through adverse situations down the road.

To me, it’s safe to say that everyone who took part in sports this past fall in Garfield County will have something positive to take with them into adulthood.

I’m a big fan of that.

Jon Mitchell is the sports editor of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and Rifle Citizen Telegram. He can be reached at jmitchell@postindependent.com, or by phone at 970-384-9123.


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