In state championship football games, like all sports, there’s always one team who will walk away heartbroken.
That’s sports. That’s the name of the game. No matter how great the battle, how great the teams, there has to be a winner and there has to be a loser.
But as the Chinook Sugarbeeters prepare to take on the Wibaux Longhorns in Saturday’s Class C state championship game in Chinook, to me, the Beeters, their school, their program and the town of Chinook have already won.
Chinook has had a remarkable season and there’s only one perfect ending for the Beeters, and that’s a state championship.
But there’s so much more to what Chinook is doing this season and what the Beeters and their supporters are about to experience on Saturday.
At times like this, the journey is just as important as the end result.
There’s nothing quite like playing for a high school state championship in any sport and at any level. And the fact that Chinook has never even played for a state title in football makes this season even more special. To be a part of something so meaningful, so emotional and so intense like what the Beeters are going through this week and will go through on Saturday afternoon, it’s almost impossible to put into words. You can’t really know unless you’ve been a part of it yourself.
And while there’s no doubt the sole focus for the Chinook football team is and has been finding a way to beat the Longhorns on Saturday and bring the town of Chinook its first-ever football state championship, here’s hoping the Beeters and their fans, the parents of the players, the students and everyone involved with this great run the Beeters have had remember to enjoy the experience, remember to enjoy the journey.
Moments like Saturday don’t come around very often and things like playing for a state championship, competing at the highest level of high school sport in this great state, and being a part of something so special should be cherished. Because it’s something many never get to experience and it’s also something that, win or lose, will last these extraordinary young men and everyone around them, a lifetime.