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JUNIOR JOURNAL: Respect the Greatness of Local Teams:

Dodgers, Angels, Galaxy, Sparks, Ducks, and, of course, Lakers. And those are just professional teams. Both USC and UCLA have pumped out well-respected football and basketball programs, respectively. While many industries in Los Angeles seem to have taken some hits over the last year because of the recession, sports in the City of Angels have stayed on an even keel, if not improved. Indeed, it’s an exciting time to be an L.A. sports fan. After all, we could be in a city like Kansas City, where the Chiefs, Royals and Wizards are all struggling with a dearth of prosperity.

Yet, not enough respect is given to our local teams, as if we’ve been spoiled by their recent successes. Sure the parade after the Lakers’ championship run was lively and enjoyable. However, I don’t see the enthusiasm with which other cities with good teams show towards their sports organizations. Both from a media perspective and the public perspective, where is the zealousness that I know is out there?

Many argue that Los Angeles is full of too many attractions to keep oneself busy, that only cities with inhospitable weather and very little to do display such vehemence. But by taking a look at Boston, Massachusetts, a city very similar as far as talent of sports organizations is concerned, this argument seems flawed. Sure Boston has its share of poor weather, but it also is a bustling city, full of many of the same attractions as Los Angeles. The Dodgers, Angels, Ducks, and Lakers certainly match up with the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics. Athletes put in the work to provide their city with the pride and glory it deserves. It’s our job as fans to respect their professionalism by showing up for a couple of games throughout the season and wearing team merchandise to make it clear exactly what team you support.

It’s understandable to avoid following a team when they go in to a dormant stage where winning a game is as difficult as getting a Health Bill that pleases everyone. But not following a team when they are consistently providing results is a disgrace not only to the team, but also to the whole city.

Then again, maybe Los Angeles is unique in its acceptance of sports teams. We don’t have sympathy for sub .500 teams going through a so-called “transition.” We feel periods of transition are just excuses for soft teams to get away with not putting out the effort and commitment we deserve. Only recently have General Managers such as Mitch Kupcheck of the Lakers resorted to taking risks on signing free agents.

Yet, this abundance of lofty sports teams has not always been accounted for. Looking back just a couple of years, many of these teams were still cleaning their wounds from strings of consecutive poor seasons. In 2004, the Lakers were a .500 team fighting for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Similarly, the Angels,

Even with Lisa Leslie retiring, the Sparks have a bright young star in Candace Parker, is ready to lead plenty more Sparks’ teams to rule over the West. The Anaheim Ducks always seem to be in the thick of things over the past few years, their biggest challenge being the San Jose Sharks. As for the Galaxy, a good mix of veteran leadership in Landon Donovan and the fresh legs of Edson Buddle should provide enough of a balance to propel the Galaxy towards a spot in the playoffs.

Just the thought of a freeway series invigorates me. A World Series between the Dodgers and Angels would be a rare event to witness.

So just sit back, relax, and drink a cold soda through a straw because sports life is good in Mannywood.

Junior Journal is a section in The Mirror where local area

High School students’ work is published. For questions or concerns

regarding this section, please contact the Managing Editor,

Christopher Rosacker at chris@smmirror.com or call 310.577.6507 ext. 124

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