Sports links both schools and community

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Recently passing through the halls of Elizabethton High School, a friend and educator was showing some of the new freshmen around the campus and was focusing on areas of sports including the gym, swimming pool area, and the school trophy case.

Knowing that I was the Sports Editor of the Star, he stopped me and asked if I could take about three to five minutes and share with the students how important sports are to the community.

I began to share with the students how those sports tie the school and community together as well evidenced by the last couple of years where the Elizabethton Cyclones had won the state championship in football and even in the years before.

And yes I know that not everyone loves to read about sport or talk about sports, but it goes without saying that a lot of the community identity is formulated by the elementary, middle, and high school sports of each respective community.

I shared with these students how the community loves to rally around its teams whether they are winning or losing because it is the one thing that everyone can usually agree on these days.

Digging deeper, we also talked about how sports has provided some of the most successful individuals the opportunity to get scholarships and attend schools where they never thought they would be able to.

And new things such as E-Sports continue to offer students who excel multiple millions of dollars in money for school just to play games.

One can go anywhere in a community during the high school football season and hear talk of the local football teams whether its at the local grocery store, Walmart, the barbershop, and even at church.

It brings people together that may not normally be associated with some of the others they meet at a game but it won’t stop friendly high fives between each other when their team scores or pulls of a huge win.

We can all find some common ground even when communities have multiple schools like Carter County does. It never fails that if there is one school left standing, the other schools come and get behind their county neighbor in support of them.

And the funny thing is that it starts at a young age and carries until we are old.

In closing, I will share a story that a friend recently shared with me concerning a football playoff game that the Cyclones were participating in at Anderson County High School.

My friend shared how that he and his family showed up at the game and there was an elderly lady taking up tickets at the gate. When she saw the family, she told my friend that it was going to cost quite a bit for them to get into the game and he would be better off to take his family to get them a good meal.

When he asked why the elderly lady said because he knew that the Cyclones weren’t going to win anyway and that he needed to save his money and take his family out for a nice dinner.

It just goes to show that sports definitely link both young and old together in the spirit of competitiveness in one’s community.