Column: High school playoff season is a ‘community happening’

Many people would agree that their years in high school were some of the best years of their lives—particularly those individuals who were members of a sports team or participated in other activities such as the marching band or debate team.

In many cases, team members become lifelong friends. Reunion parties are held from time to time as teammates return to remember the fun—more so than the outcome of games or events—they had participation in high school activities. Quite often, reunions for sports teams are staged during the highlight of each sports season—the state tournaments.

And as the calendar turns to November, there is nothing like the excitement of high school sports and tournaments in cities across Wisconsin and throughout the nation every weekend.

While each team will be trying to advance to the state championship, the outcome of the games is only a part of the experience for those individuals in attendance.

Why? Because the people in the stands at high school tournaments are moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, neighbors down the street, fellow students, and longtime residents of the community. People in the stands know the players on the field, court, course, or pool. Win or lose, their support and love is always there.

There is no tradition in sports with the history of high school sports. Although there are more options for entertainment on weekends than ever before, there is still nothing to match high school tournaments in the fall. With all the people attending events of the 511 member high schools in Wisconsin, it’s easily one of the top fan bases in the state.

As you attend high school tournament games this year in Wisconsin, remember that the student-athletes, coaches and game officials deserve your utmost support, encouragement, and respect. While advancing in the playoffs is the desire of each team, the ultimate objective of high school sports and activities is to have fun and enjoy these special years.

We urge you to continue to support the high school teams in your community.

Karissa Niehoff is the executive director of the NFHS
David Anderson is the executive director of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.