About five hours after leaving the Michigan High School Athletic Association office building late in October, I pulled into the parking lot of Munising High School on the edge of Lake Superior. It was just after 7 p.m. on this Thursday evening, I saw that there were many cars in the parking lot, and I guessed that there was a high school volleyball game about to be played.
Indeed. It was the last regular season match of the season, and senior night. I was greeted warmly by the match referee and the school's two veteran administrators. And one of Munising's senior players, a member of the MHSAA Student Advisory Council, interrupted her warmups to jog over to welcome me. After the match, we hugged and posed for pictures together. Between the greeting and the posing, I enjoyed a marvelous evening of educational athletics.
There was plenty of cheering, and never a "boo." Not once did I hear a complaint about officiating. In fact, on two occasions the Munising coach corrected officials' calls that resulted in a point being awarded to his opponent.
For a time, every player on the floor for Munising had played more than one sport that season. Every one of the six played tennis as well as volleyball, and one of them also ran cross country this season. At the same time, the other team's participants included two girls who were also playing on their school's 8-player football team this past season.
Here the multi-sport student-athlete is not an endangered species; it's an essential fact of life. Here a school sports event draws the community together in good spirit and sportsmanship. Here is the power of school sports.