James Miller is managing editor and director of content for The Kelowna Daily Courier. Contact; james.miller@ok.bc.ca

With the Apple Bowl being the site of this weekend’s B.C. high school track and field championships, now is a great opportunity for casual sports fans — ones who hadn’t been to a track meet since they were in high school — to check out some of the action.

High school sports are, in our opinion, by far the most pure form of athletics anywhere.

No multi-million contracts, labour issues, trade demands or doping scandals — student athletes are there for the love of the game.

Ask any physical education teacher, they all know of many kids who would have never made it through high school without sports.

Although in recent years schools began charging a user fee, high schools offer competitive programs to many kids who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate in club systems.

Although vilified in “Revenge of the Nerds” and once considered to be bullies, in reality, the jocks are most often the nicest kids in the school.

Unlike the U.S. where high school sports reign supreme, coaches in Canada are volunteers and teachers who do this on top of their regular duties and without any additional compensation.

While some students dream of landing a college scholarship or even a professional career (Exhibit A: the Toronto Raptors), they all have things in the perspective. They want to play with the kids they go to school with. They take pride in representing their school.

Good principals and school administrators recognize the value in high school sports. (There are some, believe it or not, who still seem to resent it.)

While sports keep students in shape, create new friendships and allow them to compete at an elite level, perhaps the greatest value is the lifetime friendships that are made thanks to high school sports.

To the teachers, volunteers, administrators, parents and alumni who make events such as this week’s track meet happen, we thank you.

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