Athletics at all levels provide an inspiration

Monday, February 27, 2006

Today's beautiful weather arrived just in time for more of us to get outside and exercise instead of sitting in front of the television watching the Winter Olympics.

But the games were a welcome diversion from the ordinary, and a reminder of the power of hard work, determination and talents. Good lessons for all of us.

Justice seemed to prevail when Bode Miller, who earned notoriety and made coaches cringe with his boasts about skiing drunk, turned out to be a flop, who apparently arrived out of shape and unprepared to compete. We wonder if he returned any of the money he received for endorsements.

The snowboard cross competition added new excitement and interest for younger fans, not to mention a new hero in the person of Shaun White, "the flying tomato," not to mention seven medals.

Other heroes included tiara-clad skier Julia Mancuso, skater Apolo Anton Ohno, charming figure skater Sasha Cohen, slalom skier Ted "Ligety Split" Ligety, and even the feuding speed skaters Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick.

And, how about skater Joey Cheek, who donated the $25,000 he won in the 500 meter and the $15,000 he won for silver in the 1,000 to charity.

Those stories, and dozens more, made the Olympics an inspiration.

But we don't have too look half a world away to find drama and inspiration in sports.

Just check out local high school athletics.

Southwest Nebraska will be well represented at 9 p.m. Thursday in the opening round of the Class D-1 girls state basketball tournament when Wauneta-Palisade, 20-3, takes on Cambridge, 16-5 in first-round action.

Southern Valley, 18-3, plays Ashland-Greenwood, 22-1, at 11:30 a.m. Thursday and Perkins County, 18-2, plays Kearney Catholic, 20-3, at 5 p.m.

And Northwest Kansas proved itself a wrestling powerhouse, despite no championships, with five wrestlers placing second at state and three placing third in the Class 3-2-1A tournament in Hays.

And boys basketball won't be far behind, with Cambridge and Wauneta-Palisade boys playing in McCook Tuesday night in the boys D1-6 championship game.

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