Mountain Home High School has a right to be extremely proud. Over the past few days, the boys basketball squad and the school's wrestling team brought back a number of accolades following their appearances at this year's state tournaments.
While it's understandable that there's nothing like winning a state title, what our community's high school achieved was no small feat. The fact that both of our local teams finished in the top three speaks volumes about the caliber of our players as well as the coaches that inspired them to achieve new levels of greatness.
Let's put it this way. Just to reach the state finals, Mountain Home was facing a total of 21 teams in the 4A division, which includes some very tough competition from schools across the Treasure Valley. Our basketball team finished the season with an impressive 15-6 regular season record. Meanwhile, our wrestling team had 20 of its players that qualified to attend the state finals.
Players from both teams have every reason to stand tall and savor the moment. I believe that moments like these come few and far in between, so it's fitting that these individuals take some time to reflect on their accomplishments both as individuals and as teams.
At the same time, I have to credit all of the fans that cheered on both teams during each step of the way.
During the state basketball finals, parents and students from Mountain Home packed the gymnasium at Borah High School every day as they cheered on the Tigers during each step in their quest for the state title. The number of empty seats on Mountain Home's side of the gym seemed few and far in between.
I believe the enthusiasm of the cheering crowd that served as the added "push" that allowed the Tigers to search deep inside to find the inspiration they needed to continue to fight every time they trailed on the scoreboard. They never gave up. They never surrendered.
Speaking of teams that never surrender, I need to pause and personally congratulate another group of men and women. On Monday, they returned home following their yearly quest to raise money for cancer research and treatment.
The Mountain Home Fire Department sent seven representatives to the 24th Annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb, held Sunday at the Columbia Center in Seattle. They were among 1,700 firefighters representing hundreds of departments across the United States as well as six foreign countries.
All of them joined forces to raise $2 million to benefit cancer research for the national Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A portion of the money raised locally will directly help two teenagers currently battling this disease.
Those who have competed in the event in year's past consider the climb minutes of pure hell with the exhilaration of reaching the top of the 69-story skyscraper. What makes the climb so challenging is the fact that each person had to climb all 1,311 steps wearing roughly 60 pounds of firefighting gear.
I figure I would've been lucky just to reach the first-story landing before I collapsed.
But these people accepted a commitment to reach the top of the building. This is why they spent weeks undergoing fitness workout that would make others pale in comparison.
Each of these firefighters did all of this willingly because they understand the importance of doing everything they can to help find a cure for these dreaded diseases one day. It's the same disease that claimed the life of my own father in law just a few short years ago.
What else can I say except "go Mountain Home" and "go Mountain Home Tigers!"
-- Brian S. Orban