January 3, 2013

Editorial: Supporting local sports


---- — During 2013, why not make it a mission to actively support your local sports teams? Make a note to attend at least one game this year. Maybe you’ll get hooked and turn it into a habit.

Getting out to a basketball or hockey game or other sports event this time of year has undeniable benefits, mental and physical.

Getting to the car, getting into the arena, climbing the bleachers — it’s not a concentrated workout, but it beats sitting in the easy chair watching television.

And it’s more than that. Supporting your local sports franchise — grade school, high school or college — infuses morale in the players and might even inspire them to perform better. And every community wants to be proud of its sports teams, and you can help boost school spirit — and your own — by taking your place among the cheering spectators.

You might not be especially interested in sports. You may not even know many of the rules. But watch a few games, and you’ll catch on more quickly than you’d imagine.

High-school sports are a terrific hobby. You’ll probably know the families of some of the players, if you don’t know the players themselves. You’ll be doing them a favor by supporting those kids’ efforts, as well as getting yourself some exercise and emotional and mental stimulation.

Don’t overlook the colleges, where you very likely don’t know anyone playing. Our local college teams have a history of surprising success. Plattsburgh State, North Country Community College, Clinton Community College and Paul Smith’s College all offer opportunities to watch sporting events. All the teams play hard, and some play exceedingly well. And don’t overlook female sports, as some people do, or you’ll be missing some exciting local players and games. Check the Press-Republican’s daily Area Sports listing on B2 to find out when and where games are being held.

Let’s face it: Unless you’re a skier, skater, sledder or snow-shoer, the North Country winter can be a long stretch of inactivity. Attending sporting events is a productive way to fight through this period between the holidays and the spring thaw. It might even inspire you to be more active in non-competitive sports.

There is a long menu to choose from. We have almost 30 high schools in our region, along with four colleges. The level of play is almost always invigorating.

And it’s fun — fun for the kids while they’re playing and fun for the spectators. Everybody’s frame of mind will be improved by the experience.

Nothing inspires teams and players like a gym or arena full of excited fans. Why don’t you resolve right now to make the winter of 2013 the time you adopted a team and helped root it on to victory?

You’ll be doing yourself an even bigger favor than you’ll be doing the kids.