Celebrating Our Children

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A wonderful season of struggle and triumph has come to an end for a gaggle of great kids — and their coaches, parents and fans.

The Longhorns’ baseball team made it into the state tournament, but fell to a pitcher with a 90-mile-an-hour fastball.

An impressive squad of runners, hurdlers, vaulters and jumpers made it to state as well. Our kids placed well — and runner Wyatt Chapman won a Division 3 state championship in the 100-meter dash.

Meanwhile, the girls’ softball team made it through two rounds — and this weekend will make a gutsy, valiant run at winning the first state tournament crown in Payson history. The team has grown better every year and now seeks to fulfill a dream; their talent and skill exceeded only by their heart and grit.

We’re all Longhorns now, rooting for this wonderful team, which has worked so hard for so many years for this opportunity.

We hope you win: But we’re as proud as we can be already, no matter what happens next.

Now, some readers may wonder that we have given such play to the Longhorns — with all the front-page stories and special section.

It’s not because sports matters more than grades or drama or graduation rates or the ag program. It’s because they’re our kids — and we love cheering for our kids.

In truth, children give this whole bewildering, buzzing, baffling life its meaning. Sometimes it seems like nothing makes sense, nothing works out, nothing lasts. But then you think about the children — and you know it’s not so. They impart meaning. They make life matter. They lift us out of ourselves.

That’s the single question to ask of any public policy: Will this help the kids? Will this make them stronger — give them opportunities? And if you want to take the measure of a community, just pay attention to how they treat their kids. Pay attention to whether the community bands together to protect its children — and celebrate their successes.

Thank the Lord, that’s the kind of town we live in. Rim Country celebrates its children — you can see it on every side, in all the good causes and charitable organizations. People will tell you that communities with a lot of retirees don’t support schools, don’t treasure children. But that’s just not true — at least not in Payson. Here, we pass school bond issues and school overrides and make generous contributions to Credit for Kids. Here, the community’s donations support the athletic program and the music program and the theater program.

So way to go, kids.

It’s great to be a Longhorn.

And great to have kids like you to celebrate.

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