It’s tragedies like the one that occurred the night before the state girls basketball tournaments tipped off that, unfortunately, put games into perspective.
They’re games. Just games.
They’re but a blip on the radar of most of the girls’ lives at the tournaments. After all, 36 of the 40 teams will head home having fallen short of their season dreams.
Just four teams will be crowned state champs.
That was driven home in the hearts of the competitors Thursday morning when area newspapers reported the death of a Rimrock High player.
Sara Cameron, 17, a senior, was driving home after watching her school’s boys team play a district game. She was by herself after dropping off some friends and stopping to visit her grandmother.
Sara’s 1986 Ford Escort spun out of control and she was ejected from the driver’s seat. The car landed on top of her. She was killed instantly.
She was 3 miles south of Oreana, between Marsing and Grand View, the home of Rimrock High. Grand View, a town of about 350, is located 50 miles south of Boise.
It wouldn’t matter if Sara was the star player or a bench warmer. But she was Rimrock’s star player, and she dreamed of playing in college.
Cameron, described as friendly and pretty with an infectious smile, hoped that a good showing at state might land her a scholarship.
Police suspect she was driving too fast along a stretch of highway that’s largely desolate.
With the night quickly approaching morning Tuesday, Sara’s father became concerned and went looking for her.
Bruce Cameron is an emergency medical technician and reserve officer with the Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office. He was the first to arrive at the accident, finding her trapped under her car. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Rimrock Raiders played their opener Wednesday because that’s the way Sara would have wanted it, friends and school officials said.
Her 11 teammates and coach huddled together during a moment of silence before the game, just 20 hours after her death. The school of 150, including 33 seniors, was in shock Wednesday morning. Counselors were called in from area schools.
Rimrock (21-4) fell to Dietrich 49-42, snapping a 15-game winning streak. The Raiders came off the court to a standing ovation.
It didn’t matter that the Raiders had lost. They had lost something more important.
But they played hard and didn’t give up.
And that’s what Sara Cameron would have wanted.
Most of the players attending the four state tournaments won’t remember the wins and losses at state 20 years from now.
They’ll remember the friendships made. And that’s more important than the games.
Just ask the Rimrock Raiders.
I cried this morning when I saw her picture on the front page of area newspapers.
You may not know the family, but say a prayer for them today.
The games went on, but for obvious reasons the results didn’t much matter.
At least in these eyes.