Walking a mile in Marysville’s shoes

There’s an expression when it comes to local sports: Walk a mile in our shoes, and then you can cheer for us.

Actually, I lied. There is no such expression.

But after just a few weeks here, I can understand if that saying surfaces — and if it does, I take all the credit. I’ve been to roughly 15 prep events so far and for nearly a third of them, the parking lot has been full, forcing me to park so far away that I can’t even hear the crowd and walk my lazy behind to the field.

My introduction to such an experience was for the Arlington vs. Marysville-Pilchuck football game Oct. 2. I made the mistake of showing up just 10 minutes early, only to find a full parking lot, and both sides of Crown Ridge Boulevard lined with cars parked at its curbs.

As my mouth dropped lower with every block I drove in search of a spot, I realized that you never see anybody change their prep allegiance to a school they have never had an affiliation. I mean, how many friends do you have from Arlington just one day decide to root for Marysville?

It just doesn’t happen, and I think it’s because we all have experiences at a place and we identify with others who share them. Take me, for example. I hated where I went to high school, but I still identify with Fife High School. When it’s time for postseason brackets to come out, I still check for my alma mater. Don’t get me wrong, usually it’s to see if the Trojans ever actually figured out how to win a football game — considering they won less than 10 in my combined four years.

Nevertheless, prep sports are part of the community. They are shared experiences that help you get to know the people that share your water, traffic and police department.

I was reminded of that before the Tomahawks’ volleyball match, where youngsters played on the high school fields and cars overflowed the lot and surrounding streets.

Even in small towns, the venues and opportunities that define a community are dwindling. Unfortunately, in most communities fairs, parades and festivals are slowly going away, leaving local sports as the one true occasion to meet the neighbors. They are places that between cheering, you can actually talk to people who aren’t trying to sell you something.

I’m sure it helps, too, if you have enough time to learn the entire life stories of three different people while walking to every home football game.

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