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School sports seasons off to a busy start

Aug 7, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

Ahh, the dog days of summer ... are about over. It's August, and while the major leaguers are plodding through their season (it truly is a great time of year for baseball fans), high school students in Riverton and across the country have other sports on their minds.

In fact, before this month ends, Riverton High School and new activities director Jeremy Hill and assistant Tim Bell will host a large varsity volleyball tournament, a varsity football game with the new expanded and comfortable seating at Wolverine Field and varsity tennis matches.

Practice for all high school and middle school fall sports start next week. The swimmers and golfers will have their first home events in September, and the cross country runners -- with defending state champion Olivia Thompson and state contender Jillian C'Bearing -- will wait until October to run in their home meet.

Not only is the school planning for these events, parents and students are planning too -- at the high school, middle school and elementary levels. For some, it can be difficult to decide which sport to choose, and it can be equally heartwrenching to decide not to compete.

One of the most impressive moments for me during the 2012 Summer Olympics was how superstar swimmer Missy "Missile" Franklin reacted after she had completed her four gold medal swims. She just turned 17 in May, and what is she looking forward to the most? She wants to get back to high school so she could hang with her friends at her school's upcoming football games.

Franklin is resisting the urge to turn pro so she can compete with her high school swim team this year and on a college team after that. Being on a team, Franklin says, is most important to her. Some might argue that it's easy for her to say that because she wins all the time. Fair enough.

But consider what Franklin, now a mega-star, is placing as a priority so that she can cheer for her friends, ride on cramped school busses, participate in crazy homecoming activities, and study history and math. She is saying no (for now) to hundreds of thousands if not millions of greenbacks. She wants to be part of a team. There is no question that being part of a team for many high school athletes is, well, just not that important.

It seems the number of kids living in the "me" generation may be too high. We hope this season can be different here in Fremont County. New activities director Hill has some good ideas he's refining that will allow our student athletes to feel more a part of our community than before.

And, as community members, we bear some responsibility too. Make this the year you get out to the games in your red coat or sweater. Turn on College View or Sunset Drive instead of North Fifth Street West this year to watch a Wolverine football game. Get in the gym to watch a pretty darn good volleyball team and support the other sports too.

The Ranger will be there, bringing you the ups and downs of what it means for our teams to compete.

Should be an exciting year. Join us, in person. Lets support our teams. Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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