I’ve come to view high school sports through a different lens. One doesn’t have to be wearing a jersey to see there are many things to appreciate about high school sports.
Witnessing the comradery in sports is something to behold. Athletes working together as a team, learning how to win – and how to lose. Even more, high school sports bring communities together. Multiple generations line bleachers to support the dreams of those currently in the “game,” on the court, field or mat.
More often than not, we witness valiant acts of determination, heart, dedication, kindness and displays of respect for both teammates and competitors. Where there is competition, there is passion – a result of years of hard work and practice.
We have all been inspired by those underdog stories. You know, the Cinderella team from town-you-name-it, where “that one year,” everything seemed to click. Stories of the standout athlete, who might not have had the build, height or athleticism to succeed, but put in the time to perfect his/her skill and even the odds.
Many of these standout teams and athletes will be remembered, their stories reverberated within communities for generations. As sure as the rooster crows, the morning coffee crew will gather at the local farmers co-op to relive those last-second shots, third-down stops, record pins and big moments in North Dakota sports history. It’s the stuff movies are made of, and it happens in schools and communities, big and small, right in our backyard.
Often behind any great team or athlete are moments of inspiration from a coach, parent, friend, or even a story that made kids believe in themselves. How lucky are we to live in an era filled with accounts of inspiration and to have a chance to inspire or be inspired?
Opportunities to inspire are not isolated to sports. Every day, we are presented with chances to inspire and have been given the ability to do so, through our kindness, our deeds, our work and our stories.
Stories are meant to be shared, and we, at North Dakota Living, share the duty of writing them down. Don Hanson knew this, too. The late editor of “The Hoopster,” North Dakota’s comprehensive guide to high school and college basketball, Hanson made it his duty to record North Dakota basketball history, as you’ll read on page 14. Today, his son, Perry, continues to do the work of his father before him – work that has inspired decades of coffee table conversations and invoked memories for so many.
As you read through the pages of North Dakota Living each month, my wish is that the stories will, too, inspire a conversation, invoke a memory, cause you to share it with your friends and family, or show you a different lens with which to see.
Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC. Contact him at email@example.com.