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Tim Myers: Competition is the spice of local life

Posted: February 16, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 16, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Our youngest son, a senior at Valencia High School, ain’t happy.

At least his Twitter feed indicates a certain upset with the sports staff of The Signal.

What upset our 6-foot, 2-inch-tall co-captain of the powerful Valencia varsity tennis team, who recently decided to attend the University of Nevada?

During the tennis off season, he counts himself a member of Viking Nation, the student athletic rooting section for Valencia High School, along with a trunkful of props and costumes including Viking helmet, sword and shield.

With a flourish of purple and gold makeup he would go out to "rep" the team up to three times per week.

With the recent conclusion of the regular basketball season, The Signal sports staff (informally) ranked the student rooting sections of the six area comprehensive high schools.

Naturally, Viking Nation hoped The Signal would reward members’ efforts.

The result? Viking Nation, which pioneered the use of props and costumes in the Foothill League (according to our son), came in a disappointing fifth, beating out only the Canyon Cowboy Corral and narrowly defeated by Golden Valley.

Oh, the injustice and humanity!

Now the Valencia High School Twitter universe quickly responded to this outrage, pointing out that during the interregnum of the so-called winter sports between football and springtime Valencia High School either won outright or captured a share of a league championship in EVERY sport save boys basketball.

So there, West Ranch, the winner of the rooting competition.

Now with my Nebraska bride and myself preparing to exit the SCV, we will miss the competition and rivalry of the various local high schools that existed in various forms over the last 17 years. It really adds a spice to local life!

When we arrived in 1996, with only four high schools and Valencia High only opened two years earlier, Hart High School sucked up all the local athletic oxygen.

Not only did Hart enjoy local and even regional dominance in football, racking up several CIF championships and impressive victories over dynastic programs like Mission Viejo, it dominated in pretty much every single sport, with the other three high schools carving out niches in minor sports.

Saying it ain’t bragging if it’s true. The Hart athletic programs stood so dominant that the other high schools put together their programs and strategy strictly to achieve a victory over Hart teams.

For a period of time I even engaged in psychological warfare against Hart by referring to the school with the name Newhall High School in published columns, a dig coined by Valencia ASB wags at the turn of the century.

This reference upset the Hart faithful so much that Richard Budman, a former publisher of the Signal, told me he could count on no less than 25 phone calls to The Signal expressing outrage whenever readers saw the name published, not to mention numerous shocked and outraged letters to the editor that The Signal would allow such a slander to stand.

The tide against Hart began to turn in 2004. In that 10th year of existence the Valencia Vikings would FINALLY notch a football win over the Hart Indians, and for the next several years interesting football and athletic parity would exist between Canyon, Valencia and Hart.

West Ranch and Saugus would also carve their niches while Golden Valley would struggle, due to its newness and a misbegotten attendance area that would keep its enrollment low.

How can one describe the delight of athletic competition in cross-town rivalries? One feels satisfaction when one’s sports teams triumph over the local rivals.

Similarly, so little of importance rests on the outcome of athletic competitions that one finds it rather simple to recover from losses and to move forward to perhaps triumph on another day. In fact, our outraged son found himself in a good mood later Saturday night.

When we sell our residence in the next year, if the buyers come from out of the area, what will they find with respect to local athletics?

While we found a dominant Hart High School in 1996, the power of late definitely shifted to Valencia High School with its athletic dominance in so many sports. And the Myers family can take a small amount of credit for that ascendancy since both of our sons competed on championship Valencia tennis teams.

And from that, we can take with us to Orange County some measure of satisfaction.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. "Myers’ Musings" runs Saturdays in The Signal.


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