I’ve been around high school sports for a long time.
If you count my ill-fated attempt at playing for my high school tennis team as a freshman, I’ve been involved with prep sports either as a participant, team manager or journalist for 18 years. To say I feel a strong connection with high school athletics is selling things short.
But there’s something about covering sports here in Tooele County that just feels right. Maybe it’s my own small-town Utah roots. Maybe it’s the fact that this is the beginning of my fourth winter sports season since I moved up here from Southern California, and I’ve watched the current seniors since they were freshmen.
Whatever the reason, I’m glad to be here, and thankful for the opportunity I have to watch our local athletes compete.
(Yep, there’s that word: thankful. Thursday is Thanksgiving, after all.)
As I’ve made my way to basketball practices at Grantsville and Tooele, and am planning to attend practices at Stansbury in the near future, I find myself just as excited about the upcoming season as the players and coaches. I’m looking forward to watching more swim meets and wrestling matches as well.
You see, when it comes right down to it, I’m a fan, just like most of you who read these pages. I root for all of our local teams to do well. It makes it difficult when they’re playing each other, because if I had my way, neither team would have to lose. But ultimately, there’s not a single kid on any team in this county who I wouldn’t love to see celebrating a state championship.
This winter sports season offers several great opportunities for local athletes to bring home the big prize. This area boasts some very talented swimmers and wrestlers, and all six basketball teams — three boys, three girls — have a chance to make deep runs in the postseason.
Like I said, I’ve been around high school sports for a long time, and there are very few times that I’ve gone into a season where there’s so much optimism in the air. I’ve certainly been on the other side of it, where it’s not a question of whether the teams are going to struggle, but rather one of how many games they’re going to lose and how badly.
That’s not the case here in Tooele County. It feels like it’s a question of how many medals and trophies our local athletes will bring home come February and March, and what color and size they’ll be.
We can all be thankful for the hard work and effort our local athletes have put in to give us what promises to be an exciting winter sports season.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He remembers hearing a debate among members of his high school football team as to whether the media had adequately predicted just how badly they were about to lose a playoff game. Email him at email@example.com.