Editorial: The rites of spring

Take in a high school spring sports event; the kids will appreciate it
Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:23 PM

Hundreds of high school students are deeply involved in athletics these days that don’t usually get the attention or attendance of those more popular sports like basketball and football.

That shouldn’t matter. The students who play baseball, softball, tennis and soccer and who run track put in long hours and endure grueling practices just as those athletes in other sports.

If you don’t get too excited about spring sports, you should rethink your position. There are some outstanding high school athletes in this community, from Gatlinburg to Seymour to Sevierville to Pigeon Forge. The level of play is well above average, and each May we send dozens of athletes to the Spring Fling, where championships are decided in high school spring sports.

Spring sports also attract lots of female athletes. They play soccer, tennis and run track, and they also play an exciting brand of fast-pitch softball. Like athletes in  other sports, the spring players appreciate and are motivated by good and enthusiastic crowds.

The season is under way. There are games at least five days a week, with a full slate of Saturday games this year. While it’s easy to get involved in college or professional sports teams, even if they are not in season, the fact is that most of the athletes you see on our high school fields this spring likely won’t play organized sports after they graduate. They play to win, but they play mostly for fun. It is truly amateur competition, the kind that used to be celebrated in this country. And should be again.

Grab up the family and take in a game. Watch the paper for a daily schedule of what’s going on. The price of admission is low, if a fee is charged at all. This is really a family atmosphere, by the way. No need to fear hostile or misbehaving audience members.

We are proud of our high school athletes, at all levels and in all sports. All they need is your encouragement and attendance.