Beyond the accomplishment of Harwood Union boys’ soccer team heading to the Division 2 state championships last weekend, it was a great game, well-played and hard fought. The fact that the team lost to Montpelier 0-1 does not diminish what it represents to make it to the state championships.
And the fact that the team lost does nothing to diminish the significance of the incredible community support that was demonstrated last Saturday, but also throughout the entire fall sports season.
High school athletics can be and are a rallying point for any community, including ours. It’s not just for boys’ soccer. We see it for girls’ soccer and the outpouring of support as the girls lost a hard-fought match in the semifinals.
We see it for Harwood’s very successful cross-country programs that nurture young runners from an early age, turning them into champions over and over again.
We see the dedication and passion of the coaches, whether they’re coaching volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, hockey, basketball, gymnastics, cross country, golf, fishing, wrestling, alpine and Nordic skiing, etc. The coaches care and students feel it, as do parents and the rest of the community. That kind of genuine enthusiasm cannot be faked. Our coaches are actively making a difference in the lives of their students. We’re lucky to have them.
Seeing the huge turnout for last week’s soccer finals was so heartening and so encouraging, especially as we see so much strife and divisiveness in other aspects of our state and national discourse.
Community support and pride in our high school athletes supports them and also creates community for all of us. It creates a shared connection that reminds us that there are six towns in our school district, two middle schools and four elementary schools, but we share one high school and our pride in student accomplishment connects us to each other.
Congratulations to all of our student athletes, their families and their coaches. We’re all proud of your efforts this season and in all the athletic seasons.