The Saratoga Sun -

The Dougout: Show some school spirit!


Plenty of stellar student athletes from across the Platte Valley are ready to win their way up to the top, but most importantly, have fun during this fall sports season. With our young determined athletes busting their butts during football, volleyball, cross-country or golf practice, what can we adults do to help them and make them feel respected and appreciated during games? What can we do to make them feel like their many hours spent practicing and competing in sports, even with their busy lives, are 100 percent worth it all?

Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we all need to support our young athletes by getting out to all the games and events, or at least all the ones we can get to, and provide them all with a huge cheering section. It doesn’t matter if none of them are our own kids, they deserve the support from everyone who lives right here in the same valley that they do. We should all be one united community that needs to support both our young and old residents. Plus, with our local young athletes also busy with homework, cramming for tests, part-time jobs and other school-related activities, they absolutely deserve to feel appreciated while being so busy and hard at work, with not much spare time in between. Showing support is the best thing we can do, no matter what the sport is. I know that if I were a competing student athlete, I would feel quite depressed to see half-filled bleachers game after game. Just seeing so many people watching me would brighten my spirits, even if I wasn’t the best player, or my team was stuck with a long losing streak.

As a somewhat still new reporter for the Saratoga Sun, I know I am definitely excited to cover these games and support and really get to know our great kids. This 2013-2014 season will be my first season of fall sports coverage ever for the Platte Valley, and all of the kids and coaches I have met so far have been kind, courteous and welcoming toward me. You may recall from my other column that I never really attended schools sports events when I was in high school, so this season is also my chance to experience what I missed out on several years ago. I’m also excited to see how well our kids can do this year.

Coming up we have football, volleyball, golf and cross-country running, and I will be out covering all the events that I can for Saratoga and Encampment. Changes from last year include the SHS football team going from 11-man to six-man play this year, and Matt Daubner, Saratoga Resort and Spa Golf Pro and Retail Manager, will coach and lead the golf team for his first fall season. I have been to several practices and seen all the kids hard at work, and I was blown away by how our athletes did at the Saratoga Volleyball Invitational and Rawlins Golf Invitational last weekend. Even if I was not the sports reporter who got paid to go to such events, I would still come out just to have my mind blown after seeing how well these teenage kids can play.

As encouragement toward other folks, sporting events can be great social outings where people can see old friends, neighbors or even family members that they haven’t seen in a long time. It’s also fun to be part of such a big crowd of people cheering and yelling in support of their local youth. You can’t beat the food either, especially the super-juicy hot dogs or nachos with fresh hot cheese. Of course, the biggest benefit of all is that the games are free, yes, that’s right, FREE! There aren’t too many entertaining places you can go to for free anymore, or even for a low price. And what else are you going to do in the Platte Valley on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon? It’s not like we’re bustling with close-by theaters, concert arenas or stadiums, bowling alleys, miniature golf courses, arcades and roller or ice skating rinks around here. Everyone knows that a live high school sports event would be more fun and entertaining than those other places anyway. Our youth also need your support much more than the multi-millionaire actors you’d be paying to watch through a giant screen, if you instead made the trek to the movies in Rawlins on a game night. We all know it’s more important that our own local young athletes feel like superstars for a night.

Not to brag or anything, but lucky for me, I get paid to go the games, write about them, snap photos and chat with the respectful coaches and student athletes after the games. Honestly, however, as someone who used to work youth-related jobs and talk with kids on a daily basis, I would still get out and support these great kids even if I wasn’t getting paid for it. This fall season for youth sports in the Platte Valley will be another one to remember, and all of us, yes, ALL of us, need to get out and show support and spirit for our local school sports teams.


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