Its a classic tale:

The thrill of victory.

The agony of defeat.

A lifetime of striving, practicing and competing summed up in a few moments.

Its the backstory of the Olympics, sold in soft, mushy tones or over-hyped hues on television.

But in a way, it is the saga of all sports. And maybe none represents it better than high school basketball.

Baker City gets a front-row seat to some of the best basketball around beginning today as host to the District 4 1A basketball tournament.

As we have every year since 1986, Baker City is rolling out the red carpet for teams and fans alike.

But at center stage isnt the town or one particular team.

Its the spirit of competition itself.

This past year hasnt been a proud one for sports. From parents being involved in violence, even death, at youth sporting events, to an age scandal involving a Little League phenom, the spirit of competition has seen more than its fair share of cheating and senseless rivalry turned tragic.

Even the Olympic Games, as uplifting as they are with their displays of emotion and athletic prowess, are tainted by the Salt Lake City bribery scandal.

Add to that a professional sports scene where athletes look more and more like rock stars and less and less like role models, and you might understand why we look forward to events like the district tournament.

This is pure sport.

Burnt River. North Powder. Cove. Prairie City.

No professional sporting team has ever considered locating in any of them.

And yet, the sports fans youll find in each community are more dedicated than any youll find in any pennant-chasing metropolis or Super Bowl-bound suburbia.

Thats because the athletes that capture imaginations in Spray and Crane are brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Neighbors. Grandkids. Family.

We in Baker City are happy to have the teams as our guests. In every soap-painted car window and team sweatshirt-wearing shopper, we dont just see a boon to our towns tourism economy.

We see traditional Oregon values of family and community personified and celebrated in a rustle of pom-poms and flurry of cheers.

For sure, when it comes to playing games, Baker City means business. From skiing at Anthony Lakes, to baseball and softball tournaments at our top-notch Sports Complex, to fishing Brownlee Reservoir, to the district and state basketball tournaments, the spirit of sport in Baker City is rivaled elsewhere only in scale, not quality.

So welcome to Baker City.

Let the games begin.