Column: Soccer, Sheridan’s secret weapon

Anyone who grew up with Sheridan High School sports knows the Gillette problem: There are a lot of those Camels.

Campbell County has two high schools, a North and South campus, and Sheridan has one. Instead of whining about it, most Sheridan folks take the position that the disparaging numbers make it all the more satisfying when Sheridan comes out on top.

The only thing more fulfilling than beating Gillette at football would maybe be somehow beating them at wrestling. That Camel dynasty seems intact, but it sure would be nice to see SHS as the one to break their streak of 11-straight state titles.

High school rivalries are a friendly, amateur grudge. At most, they’re a simple motivator for adolescent athletes still developing their sports fan psychologies. No one gets too upset about a loss, or at least they shouldn’t.

There’s always that next sport and that next year.

Sheridan’s soccer dominance is a new and important part of our rivalry, though.

What?! Soccer? I know, soccer.

Saying you like soccer in the American sports world is what I’d imagine your dad catching you trying on women’s clothes feels like. I don’t know what that feels like, but I know some people do that sort of thing. To each his own.

I’ve never completely understood the male aversion to soccer. Is it so emasculating not to be able to touch the ball with your hands? Arguments against the sport are quickly quashed, to me, by the sport’s overwhelming international popularity.

The fleet-footed sport’s high esteem has infiltrated Sheridan, and the Broncs in turn have used it to dismantle the mighty Camels. Sheridan today plays for its fourth-straight appearance in the 4A state soccer title game — a noteworthy feat no matter the sport.

Without question, there’s a disconnect between U.S. soccer and the international game. David Beckham’s retirement yesterday was told as if he was the greatest player of his generation. In reality, he was an underwear model in the United States and about the 83rd best player in England for the last five years. He retired when he moved to L.A.

Sheridan has managed to bridge the gap into long-term success, largely because of steady flow of good players from youth development. English players are born with a soccer ball in their crib and are forced to push it with their forehead, crawling through orange cones before they can walk. Not really, but I’m sure the drill has been discussed. I think it was Freeman’s Farm and Horatio Gates that prevented similar soccer hypnosis from happening to future North American babies (U-S-A! U-S-A!), but by today’s domestic standards, Sheridan’s youth programs are outstanding.

We can beat Gillette today. A team that enters 0-3 would normally be considered a heavy underdog, but in every game the two have played this year Sheridan has been on the verge of coming out on top. Let’s take down the Camels this afternoon, not because it’s our turn or because Gillette has a massive number, 44 kids, at the state track meet this week. But because soccer is Sheridan like football is Sheridan.

Go ahead, embrace it. I won’t tell your dad.

About

Brad Estes

Sheridan Press sports editor

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