High school athletes dream of being on a state championship team.
For a number of student-athletes in Scott City, they've experienced the thrill twice — and all in one year.
And the Scott City boys basketball team made quite a statement with its recent state tourney win. When the Beavers cruised past previously unbeaten Humboldt 74-55 Saturday to claim the Class 3A state title, it was the school's third straight basketball championship, making Scott City the first team in Kansas history to win three consecutive 3A titles.
If that wasn't impressive enough, several players on this year's basketball team also hoisted the state championship trophy in Class 3A football just months ago with a thrilling win over Silver Lake to cap an undefeated season.
The dominance of the sports programs at Scott City has to be attributed to a high level of commitment and dedication from students who aren't afraid of hard work. Credit their coaches, parents and others who support them from the sidelines for their contributions, as well.
The Ingalls girls basketball team also finished up in an impressive way. Ranked No. 1 all season in Class 1A-Division II, the Lady Bulldogs stymied Norwich Saturday en route to a 37-22 win and perfect season.
For their efforts, athletes from both teams in Scott City and Ingalls always will be known as state champions.
That said, as exciting as state championships are for schools, players and fans, the end of each season also should be a time to reflect on the value of the experience for all young athletes — win or lose.
Sports, after all, teach important lessons at every level. Youngsters learn about discipline and teamwork, and hopefully understand how to win and lose with grace and dignity. Those valuable lessons promise to aid them throughout life.
There are additional benefits, as young athletes also are more likely to continue to engage in sports and other exercise after they finish school.
It's great to cheer for champions in any sport. In the end, though, the valuable experience for all who participate matters and warrants applause, as well.