AURORA -- A long time ago, someone made sure that a bunch of young reporters remembered what a privilege it is to attend any sort of an event you are covering -- government, sports, summer event in a small town.
That person must have had this year's state 5A softball tournament in mind.
Those 16 young women from Brighton High School -- Kim Zweifel, Zayna Ramirez, Natalie Sanchez, Joslynn Lopez, Desiree Ramirez, Saige Swink, Rachael Lopez, Kayla Michel, Alexis Alarcon, Madison Motes, Brianna Jackson, Carleigh Garcia, McKenzie Motes, Katelyn Ellis, Paxton Duran and Brittany Abayta -- plus their new coaching staff sailed through the state tournament to an unlikely spot this weekend.
The state finals.
That's a first in BHS softball lore. And even though Legacy won its fifth straight state championship by a score of 4-1, those 16 young ladies and their coaches have nothing to be ashamed of at all.
Even though the faces were long Saturday afternoon, there is no disgrace losing to the best team in the state, especially when that team wins state titles as frequently as Legacy does. As is the case with a lot of high school athletes, they were fine two hours after the game. They had time to take stock of what they accomplished, to pat themselves on the back and participate in some self-congratulations.
One other thing. Those young ladies and their coaches were absolute delights to spend time with at the state tournament and at the regional tournament the weekend before in Loveland. Nothing fazed them. They were pleasant to be around, which isn't easy when it's the state playoffs and when reporters carrying tape recorders and cameras come asking for a visit.
All of them smiled, answered the questions, maintained eye contact throughout the interviews. Fifteen- to 18-year-olds? Yep. That's what the roster said. More importantly, that sort of demeanor says more about themselves than their accomplishments, as substantial as they were this fall.
Congratulations to you all. You did yourselves proud. You did your school proud. Your did your team proud. You did your town proud. Nothing can take that away from you.