I have been fortunate to travel throughout this great country and be around a lot of sports scenes which have included many youth sporting events.

No matter where I have traveled and no matter the wealth of the community, I have yet to find a community that totally separates itself from the opportunities that the Sioux Falls area provides from elementary school all the way through the prep ranks.

Growing up in Sioux Falls, as a kid, you are so immersed in playing sports and if it is the only place you have ever lived as it was the case for me, you just assume the environment you live in is the same everywhere.

Let me tell you, that is NOT the case.

A couple of different scenes pop into my mind through my travels that serve as prime examples of the differences elsewhere.

I lived in Nashville, TN for four years and we helped take care of a young kid that played football and basketball in high school.  The funds for that inner city school district were next to none for athletics even though it served as a positive release from their everyday life that was far from easy.

So the first time I went to a practice for his basketball team and I saw the outdated equipment being used from the courts to the weight room, I knew I wasn't in Sioux Falls anymore.

The equipment was just part of it as the technology that is used from the scoreboards to the film study to the training that was lacking immensely vs what has become custom here as well.

You almost had to attend a private school in Nashville, to get the same sort of facilities we see at the middle school and high school level in Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls School District.

The other story comes from a trip I took to Miami and I was at a University of Miami football game and got to chat to a local high school football assistant coach.

Our conversation evolved into a discussion about the facilities and equipment and opportunities that are available in that area.  It was downright sad.

He talked about how the out of season training facilities are super expensive and it makes it very hard for the average kid to get involved.

He talked about how the jerseys being used were far from new and the budget was far from full of funds to help.

You could tell as well that it was a tough subject because of his passion for teaching the game and his desire for the kids to have the best opportunities available.

So fast forward to what is available in this community.

Free camps and affordable year round training provided by Avera and Sanford.

Top notch coaches and educators at the schools accompanied with above average gym's and playing fields for competition.  The fact that kids from this area get to play in places like the Premier Center, Sanford Pentagon, Sanford Fieldhouse and Great Life Centers is remarkable.

Training in all facets for those coaches, refs and administrators involved in the sports scenes as well.

The equipment is safe and the uniforms are more than acceptable comparable to others throughout this country.

At the youth level, there are countless recreational and club team chances for kids to get involved with from swimming, basketball, baseball, tennis, football, hockey and more.

I never noticed all of this as a kid growing up in this area are I honestly took it for granted, but once you see what else is out there, you appreciate it even more.

Sioux Falls is blessed to have what we have and it is nice to see the youth in this community get the best chance possible to pursue their sports dreams.

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