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Community, not rivalry, reigns supreme
01-28-Ripon play

Ripon loves its high school sports teams.

That was clear Saturday night as a crowd jammed the Knights’ House for the rivalry showdown between Ripon High and Ripon Christian High for boys’ basketball.

When it comes to classy rivalries, Ripon wrote the book.

The two campuses are literally a stone’s throw away from one another.

The fans - as well as players - more often not are neighbors, worship together, are acquaintances at the store, or toil side-by-side as volunteers in a community endeavor.

But that didn’t stop anyone from being intense whether they bled Ripon Red or RC Blue & Gold.

From opening tip-off to the final buzzer, they gave it their all supporting their team in the Almond Capital’s version of the Big Game, basketball style.

Parents, players, faculty, coaches, students, and fans all shared the common bond of being a part of the Ripon community. About the only ones that didn’t were the game officials.

You can only hope the players who were in the epicenter of  the game understand how much the community as a whole - regardless of their allegiance when it comes to high school sports -  care about them and all youth in Ripon for that matter.

It’s a generational, thing, if you think about it.

One generation of Ripon residents helping to develop the next generation. It’s a take-off on it takes a village to raise a child, Ripon-style.

The win, loss, baskets made or missed, and score do not matter in comparison to wanting a child to have a quality shot at life.

When Ripon Christian’s 1988 state championship boys and girls basketball teams were recognized during pregame festivities the positive aura of Ripon glowed brightly. Those players were reliving a special moment, in a special place and it was evident that all of Ripon - not just those faithful to Ripon Christian - joined in on their celebration.

There was a ton of special things about Ripon on Saturday night. The matchup that dates back to the 1950s was more of a gathering for the community as it was a matchup of two prospective basketball playoff  teams.

The sight of dozens of kids tossing up jumpers at halftime to the pleasure of the administration instead of to the chagrin you expect elsewhere, was only one of a handful of pleasant surprises.

The action was superb, the turnout was second to none and - more importantly - as soon as the game ended the city instantly became one again.

There truly was only one question as the game’s last buzzer sounded.

Who has it better than Ripon?