For most folks who have any connection to the local high school sports teams, this time of year is at best described as “crazy”. At worst it’s hectic or suffocating. For me, three straight weekends of multiple hotel stays in central Wyoming can sometimes fall into the latter category. Until the week after that is.
Coming home from the state tournament is always a time of perspective of just how good we have it here. I was sitting at the same table as Trevor Wilson, one of the bigwigs with the Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) at state wrestling and he was answering a few of my questions. But part of the answers almost always ended with things like “yeah but you Star Valley people…(pause).. you guys just… GO!” What he was referring to was the massive numbers of crimson & gold faithful that pile into their vehicles and traverse the Cowboy State for the sports seasons. It’s kind of a spectacle.
When the Lady Braves and Braves played in Casper College on Friday, the gym was at least two-thirds Star Valley fans. The following game was a ghost town as they all went to get a bite to eat and either console or congratulate players and parents. It’s become so commonplace that I often don’t appreciate it anymore. I mean, I was one of those kids who got piled in the car as a kid to go to wrestling tournaments, basketball games and track meets while riding in the back window. I mean, that’s what we do. We just… go.
Well, call it age or weight or just reflection, it really hit me this weekend. I used to appreciate sports parents. Now as a dad of a soon-to-be high schooler himself, I’m in awe of them. Getting kids to give so much of themselves these days is not easy and some make it look that way. I caught myself watching dads comfort daughters and moms digging knots out of their sons’ shoes, all the while the real world may be beckoning back here in Lincoln County through work, or bills or school or a combination of it all. I came to this conclusion. Star Valley’s reputation is well-deserved. People here are amazing. Resilient, persistent (or stubborn), passionate and dedicated. Just so their kids might have a few memories when they get to be adults themselves.
So I say this with sincerity, thank you Star Valley. I get to play a small part in the process of it all and you are all gracious enough to make me feel good about the effort. But without moms and dads and coaches who make about 25-cents an hour, I wouldn’t have anything to talk or write about. There is more on the horizon. It’s an extremely exciting time to be doing what I get to do. But it wouldn’t be nearly as cool or fun doing it if it wasn’t here. I’ve seen this sports community band together in tragedy and unite. At the best of times I’ve seen an eruption of school pride that delivers electricity in the air. So I say again, thank you for letting me be a part of it. Know that I might lose sleep over some things that escape my mouth or agonize over silly mistakes in print. But you always seem to let me keep moving forward. Thanks to the Lady Braves and Braves, there’s no place I’d rather be than right here at home.