Editorial: Program progression

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Editorial board members:

• Matt Beckett

— Community representative

• Brad King

— Community representative

• Allan Reishus

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Jerry Martin

— Newspaper representative

Our View:

The success enjoyed by the MCHS boys basketball team so far this season has been fun to watch and is well deserved by a hardworking group that has suffered through tough seasons in recent years. The same sentiment applies to the girls team, who look to be on their way to a third straight playoff appearance. The players and coaches in both programs deserve praise. Given the current success, the editorial board also pondered what it will take to sustain that success. Board members contend preparing young athletes for high school from their introduction to organized sports will yield consistently positive results on the field or court.

When the MCHS boys basketball team made a late push to beat Grand Valley Saturday in Parachute, the team elevated its record to 11-1 and the season.

Though that mark would be excellent for virtually any program, it is especially impressive when considering the MCHS boys won a total of 8 games in the last two seasons combined.

Second-year head coach Eric Hamilton, who sowed the seeds for this season’s success during a much-improved campaign last year, deserves a lot of credit. He so far has navigated a new league schedule while keeping his players focused — no small feat when dealing with high school students.

The boys’ success is even more satisfying when paired with the continued success of the MCHS girls basketball program. Coming off consecutive playoff births — which includes last season’s appearance Sweet 16 — third-year coach Matt Ray again has his team in prime position with a 9-3 record after last weekend’s games.

Even though Ray didn’t inherit a two-win team like Hamilton did, he deserves credit for sustaining his program’s success over several seasons that also involved switching to a new league schedule.

While both coaches certainly deserve praise, the editorial board also wants to give a big thank you to the players in both programs.

Watching our young people work so hard together to achieve a common goal is very satisfying for us as community members to witness. When that hard work produces the results we have seen this season so far, that satisfaction is even greater.

Thank you to all the players for representing Moffat County so proudly.

The success both programs are having now also has board members thinking about the future. More specifically, how the current success can be sustained.

Though high school players normally get the spotlight, anyone involved in youth sports can tell you the road to being a successful player in high school starts long before ninth grade.

The board contends building a solid high school program should begin right when children are introduced to organized team sports — usually somewhere between third and fifth grade. Teaching the fundamentals of a sport at such a young age is the best way to ensure those players retain that knowledge.

Part of being able to do that, however, requires that the community provides both knowledgeable and equipped coaches as well as adequate facilities for our youngest athletes.

Board members know there is a limited gym space in our community, so why not facilitate open gyms for children only? It would give them a chance to come and play in a fun, informal setting.

Teaching the fundamentals also requires that coaches make sure all the players get a chance to play and grow in their sports. The board understands winning is important, but we strongly contend it is more important that all the young players on a youth team learn the basics than it is for that team to win using a small selection of players.

Along with giving children the chance to play, allowing for more participation in youth sports is a good investment in the future of the programs at MCHS. As one board member commented, coaching young children with the attitude that only a few of them are any good narrows the number of students who want to participate when they are in high school and limits the potential of MCHS teams.

If we as a community invest in our youngest athletes by making sure they have qualified coaches, access to suitable facilities and — most importantly — the chance to play, instead of just living up to our 3A ranking the board contends we will dominate the division for years to come.

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