The Kenai Central and Soldotna high school football teams will meet Saturday in Anchorage to determine the state's small-schools champion. We wish the best of luck to both the Kardinals and the Stars, and commend both squads on the fine seasons they've had to this point.
The Kardinals are the defending champions, and enter the game with a 7-3 record. The Stars, last season's runners-up, are 10-0, including a regular season victory over Kenai.
As significant as records and wins are, we also hope that this weekend's contest highlights the best of not just the teams involved, but of high school sports and activities in general.
School activities have earned the label co-curricular, rather than extra-curricular, because they can enhance the educational experience. For the participating individual, there is the potential to learn about commitment, effort, teamwork and sportsmanship. Study after study shows that students who participate in activities, whether they be sports, music, art, drama, debate, or any other activity a school can offer, do better in school and develop habits that will benefit them later in life.
On a larger scale, activities help instill school spirit and build community pride. They are a window through which the school can engage the rest of the community, which hopefully leads to even more collaboration. Again, the studies show that students who are engaged in their school and their community tend to do better.
We're looking forward to Saturday's kickoff. To the players, play hard, leave it all on the field, but play fair. Win or lose, be able to hold your heads high when the final whistle blows.
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