I grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, a town of about 150,000, located 50 miles north of Denver.
There is a lot to do in Fort Collins, and in Colorado in general, especially when it comes to sports.
Nobody expect for parents, students and maybe some family friends attended high school games in Colorado.
And if they have to travel? Forget about it.
In Fort Collins, you have Colorado State and Denver, which is just an hour away, if the traffic is good, has all four major sports.
There is a minor league hockey team and an indoor football team in Loveland, Colorado, which is about ten miles from Fort Collins.
My point is, there is a lot to do in Colorado when it comes to sports, but in Idaho, it is all high school all the time.
I have worked for IdahoSports.com, a website that broadcasts high school sports over the internet, for about a year now, and am still simply blown away at how far people will travel to watch their hometown high school play a football game.
I remember when I was in high school and people would not be willing to make the fifteen-minute drive across town to watch our basketball team play our arch rival.
“It’s too far,” they would say. “I don’t want to drive all the way across town.”
In Idaho, I have seen people drive all the way across the freaking state to watch a high school game for a non-conference high school game, not to mention a state tournament game.
In Idaho, I have seen first-hand entire towns travel multiple hours to watch their team, both on a school night and on a weekend night.
Last year, at the state basketball tournament, the Idaho Center was packed for a 5A state championship game between Madison and Highland, two Eastern Idaho teams.
The Idaho Center is in Boise. Both teams traveled at least three hours for that game.
When my high school played in the state championship game for baseball in Denver, maybe 15 students went.
In Colorado, if it is not a home game and it was not on a Friday night, you can forget about it, you’re playing in front of empty bleachers.
There is a whole ordeal going on in Colorado now where teams from Fort Collins have to travel down to south Denver, a drive that take an hour-and-a-half at the most, where teams are upset that they have to travel that far for a high school game.
I was a part of that. I remember thinking our trip to Colorado Springs, a two-hour drive, my sophomore year, was “too far.”
In Idaho, that is nothing.
Teams have traveled upward of eight hours when a Northern Idaho team comes down to Eastern Idaho.
Teams from Boise make regular trips up north or to eastern Idaho, a trip that is well over my two-hour ordeal in high school.
The fact that entire towns willingly make these trips still blows my mind, and I must say, it is really cool and I love being a part of it.