Think of the benefits of having two teams in the same city come together.

Coming together. “The act of joining together as one.” A cooperative, often shortened to “co-op,” is a business that is owned and operated by and for the benefit of its members. A cooperative “is formed when several people identify an unmet need.”

Hmm. A benefit of its members and is formed when several people identify an unmet need. Sounds familiar.

The recent decision of St. Mary’s Schools declining Sleepy Eye Public’s football co-op proposal is disappointing to say the least. At least, that may be the politically correct term. There have been discussions of co-oping the programs for many years, at least fantasies of that coming true anyway. Some theoretical and some, like most recently were in actual discussion. Unfortunately, with the most recent news it may never come to fruition.

Put away the black and orange hats and the green and gold glasses for a second.  Think of the benefits of having two teams in the same city come together. Becoming unified. Becoming one. Just hearing local jabber and reaction online through social media on Twitter and Facebook, I see and hear a lot of finger pointing. That gets nothing accomplished. If anything, it further divides the city more than it already is.

It seems as if the decision has been made. There may still be a chance that something comes together. Maybe. Maybe not. Based off of what we currently know, St. Mary’s has declined the proposal and at this time, we are unsure of what the next steps will be for either program. One has to assume Sleepy Eye Public will have to discuss going 9-man long-term or pairing with Cedar Mountain. Possibly in more than just football. It is a feasible option that they look into their currently held co-ops and look to disband them and look for a long-term partner for all extracurriculars. Some may not like that, but that may be a reality, unfortunately.

Whether you agree or disagree with the recent decision, it has been made. I guess we have to respect that, does not mean you need to agree with it. It’s done and over with now.

My feeling is the community needed to come together over this. The majority of people I have spoken with wanted it to happen. The anti group seemed to be very few and far between. At least, the majority of those people didn’t or haven’t spoke up publicly. Which is fine, they are not required too. I just cannot help but feel the disappointment and angst of what could have been. I attended games for both schools and they fill the stands. Especially for football. Parents and fans in this community are passionate about football and sports. Or maybe, they are just passionate about supporting children and the youth. The Indians didn’t win a single game this year, but sidelines were packed. The Knights had plenty of fans at every home game as well. Imagine one team. The atmosphere would be incredible. Not just for the fans, but think of the players.

We would also have had players playing their correct age level, we wouldn’t have kids playing up a level and further risking injury. I know injuries are not guaranteed, but they are certainly more likely when you are not at the proper level in a game as physical as football. Players would be earning positions rather than handing them a spot. Something we lack all over small town communities. Sounds like a life lesson to me. You get something handed to you and it doesn’t mean the same if you’ve worked hard for it. I’ve always been taught to work for what you want and what is earned is earned, not given.

Maybe there is a loophole where something eventually works out sooner rather than later. At the end of the day we are all the same. No need to judge, point fingers, or attack any particular faction of people. I mean, we have St. Mary’s graduates teaching at Public school and we have Public graduates having their kids attend St. Mary’s and vice versa. Who really cares? Drop the nonsense and come together.

We all work together in the community, this shouldn’t be anything different. I sincerely hope businesses are not affected by the decisions of adults that are looking out for the best interests of the youth and I pray that the city and its members can come together for the benefits of all involved.

Nobody has to agree with me, but it would be nice to see us come together and maybe that still happens. Sometimes you don’t grow being comfortable and change is necessary for growth. Whether that is now or not. That is life. I just hope we don’t have to look back down the road and think, “what if?”