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Sports View

Sun Advocate general manager

The view a community has of sports in general and of particular sports, often measures up to what their local teams are doing.

Or what they aren't doing.

I've heard it said many times since I moved here 15 years ago that Price is a baseball town.

Watching baseball here you can see why. The little league teams thrive, Babe Ruth games are well attended, the high school has a program that has won the state title two of the last four years and the American Legion games in Helper during the summer draw some pretty big crowds.

Success begets success.

Carbon High's recent fifth place finish at the state volleyball tournament demonstrates what can happen when a community becomes so used to winning or being at the very top that they forget where they once were.

After the tournament, a few people around town were very disappointed in the finish, after the team took the championship last year and second in the state two years before. It wasn't that they didn't think the girls played poorly or anything like that, it was just sure disappointment after a big buildup for a top notch program that has been going on for a long time.

But Coach Bruce Bean didn't feel that way. He told the Sun Advocate that he wanted people to remember where the program was five years ago and where it has gone in that time.

"I just think about 2000 and how happy we were to finishing in the final seven," he said a few days after the season finished. "We had a great team this year; we played poorly in only one game (Snow Canyon) and with only a few more points we would have been contending for the championship that night. It was a very good year."

Being on the down side of something after a couple of exceptional years is always hard. Just look at the Utah Jazz. For years with Stockton running the show and Malone scoring, Utah was always in a place to go straight to the top. They never quite did it, but in the last couple of seasons we have all realized that even though they never brought an NBA championship to Utah, how lucky we were to have what we did have.

This year the girls and boys basketball teams at Carbon have a very good chance of doing well. But both programs have worked hard over the years. The boys have often almost made it over the hump to the state tournament, but not quite.

In contrast last year the girls won the state championship. While no one doubts that could happen again, there are some strong contenders in the wings for that title, including right next door in Emery County, where the girls team returns a lot of their players from last year. They are tall and deep and the rivalry will certainly be tested this season.

So if the girls don't go all the way this year, will people be disappointed? And if the boys make the state playoffs will the community be elated?

It all seems relative doesn't it, and in fact it is. We become conditioned by what we are used to even though the players, their experience and talent changes from year to year.

Everyone wants to win. Personally I like covering winning teams much better than losing teams. I have to write about both, and let me tell you writing about a winning team is a lot easier.

But the thing local fans need to remember is that in the long run there are no losers in high school sports. If kids play, if they participate, if they feel the camaraderie of a team and learn something about life, they are winners.

And if they can take all that into their adult private lives, all the rest of us win too.

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