Football, basketball and baseball are, without a doubt, the three most prominent sports on the American landscape. Whether you’re talking about college, professional or high-school athletics, they’re the first three that come to mind.
But there are som many other sports out there that seemingly fly under the radar. There aren’t many spectators there to watch. There’s hardly any media coverage. In a lot of cases, there isn’t even any funding from the schools, and the Utah High School Activities Association doesn’t even sponsor official state championships.
But that’s not to say they aren’t worthwhile endeavors, worthy of being celebrated.
In the time that I’ve been in Tooele County, my weekly schedule has mostly been filled with an assortment of stick-and-ball sports. Sure, there’s the occasional cross-country meet, wrestling dual, swim meet, golf tournament or tennis match, as well as racing at Utah Motorsports Campus, but my primary focus is on football, basketball and baseball, as well as volleyball, soccer and softball.
But while those sports garner most of the attention, there are so many things going on in this county that few people are aware of. Did you know that Tooele County has a state championship-caliber rugby team in its own backyard? Or that the water polo program has been around for close to two decades, and continues to grow in popularity?
There are gymnasts, dancers, weightlifters, cheerleaders, boxers and mixed martial artists right here in our own county, along with indoor soccer and ice hockey players; skateboarders; BMX, road bike and mountain bike riders; golfers; skiers and snowboarders. There are darts enthusiasts, pool sharks, table-tennis aficionados and expert bowlers.
There is literally a sport out there for just about everyone, whatever your passion may be. And, sure, it might not give you the opportunity to show off your skills in front of hundreds of your closest friends under the bright lights of a gymnasium or football stadium. It might just be you, a bicycle and your own thoughts, or you and your friends getting together for a rugby scrum to start your Saturday morning.
But it’s not always about glory. It’s about getting out there, enjoying something you’re passionate about and staying active. So if you’ve been looking for something to suit your own desires and haven’t been able to find something, keep looking. Someone out there probably has just the sport or activity you’re looking for.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. Even though he’s been known to enjoy playing soccer, tennis and golf, he’s thankful that actually being good isn’t a requirement. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.