A few years ago, the decision was made to take Sparks from the ranks of the 4A bracket in sports and place them in the 3A bracket. This hurt the egos of some hardcore Sparks Railroader fans but, in all honesty, Sparks had not been competitive in sports for many years prior to this decision. The school’s population just could not keep pace with the burgeoning numbers in the area’s largest high schools.
Sparks might have had 1,000 or so students, but the area’s largest schools in the 4A bracket had upwards of 2,000 or more students. There was no way with the ability of the larger schools to pull players from such a large pool of prospective players that Sparks could be even close to competitive, thus the decision to move to the 3A bracket. It was a numbers issue more than anything else.
It’s true, there was a time when Sparks and Reno were the only big schools in the area and their fans were absolutely rabid when it came to being competitive towards each other. In some ways, it was almost unhealthy – exciting, but unhealthy. As the area grew and newer high schools were built and populated with huge student bodies, Sparks’ competitiveness declined. The move to the 3A level was long overdue.
I’m wondering if the team will have a ticker-tape parade down Victorian Avenue to celebrate the victory. They certainly have risen in the eyes of all their supporters.
I hope the Sparks’ city fathers and the Nevada legislators take note of this achievement by the Sparks’ boys basketball team and recognize the simple fact that the boys proved from adversity comes excellence. I hope the boys' achievement shows the lawgivers that even though the chips are down economically in the state of Nevada, we can still rise successfully above this decline and come out of it winners in the end in spite of the problems we face in the short term.
Although Sparks is looking like a modern day ghost town in recent months with all the foreclosed homes and business stores for lease, it can still rise above if everyone of us maintains the resolve not to let the size of the problem get us down and, if anything, drive us to find the inner strength to persevere into making Sparks a kind of phoenix. We can do it if we all just strive, work and believe in our ability to be successful just as the boys did Saturday afternoon. Go Railroaders, WOO! WOO!
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.