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Random Thoughts - Was this most successful year ever?

No. 1 A debate involving Warren County High School athletics has been simmering for months, and now that the school year is coming to a close, the debate will continue. Has this been the apotheosis of Pioneer athletics? Was this past year the most successful string of high school sports in school history?

No. 2 There is a generation gap in the discussion. Many people who are debating the topic were not born when Warren County High School started. Certain sports such as softball, soccer and wrestling were not part of the athletic department in those early days. 

No. 3 I do not profess to know the answer to the debate because I do not think there is a definitive answer to it. However, I have heard the question asked, and it is good nod to the present athletic teams to put them in the debate.

No. 4 But let’s be real. As a society, as a town, we tend to overhype athletes. We often want to elevate athletes to hero status which is a stretch. It is easy for most of us to perceive successful athletes as celebrities. ESPN certainly helped elevate athletes, but the celebrity status of athletes goes way back to legends such as Babe Ruth.

No. 5 I would like to channel the debate in a different direction. How much do sports impact the local community? In other words, does a losing football team for 29 years lower the collective self-esteem of a town like McMinnville? On the flip side, can a team elevate the collective self-esteem of a community when it breaks a 29-year losing streak?

No. 6 How do teams such as basketball and baseball impact the town when they reach the region tournament? We all want the kids on the teams to see themselves as winners, right? Well, how does McMinnville feel about itself having a collective run of winning high school teams?

No. 7 Does the town want to increase its support of these teams when they win? Coaches across the state have told me they receive more financial support, larger crowds, and more students want to participate in their sport when they win.

No. 8 Are high school sports in a small town like McMinnville part of the fabric of the community? Does a sport like football bring people together when it wins, and can a football team demoralize a town when it loses? Is it a myth that football can lift a town when times are tough? Did the Pioneer teams lift our spirits and help us persevere through the pandemic?

No. 9 One more question, does a town have a bigger influence on its teams than the teams do on the town?