The Halifax County High School softball team hoists the championship trophy after downing Atlee High School 6-0 on June 3 at Atlee High School in Mechanicsville, Virginia in the championship game of the 5A North Region Tournament.

There are few things in a small community that top the excitement of a high school sports team making it to a state tournament.

It’s a sense of pride that’s hard to describe. Even when we have no personal connection to the players and coaches, the rally for the home team is the same. For a brief moment in time, we are all Comets cheering for our champions.

The Halifax County High School varsity softball team is among the top four teams in the state and will play this morning in the Virginia High School League 5A State Tournament.

The Comets face Hickory High School of Chesapeake at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax in one of two tournament semi-final games, with a win putting them in Saturday’s state championship game.

True champions are more than winners with superior sports skills. Character defines champions more than any tournament victory or shiny trophy.

The girls softball team has demonstrated both: the superb nearly perfect record — only suffering one post-season loss — and the mindset to not be pressured into a stressful winner-take-all attitude.

“I want us to win the state championship, but I don’t feel any differently than I have before,” Comets senior pitcher Taylor Barnes told The Gazette. “I try not to stress too much. I know if I stress too much I will over-think it, and bad things happen when I do that.”

Comets Head Coach Woody Bane said it best: “Since the beginning, we’ve never put any pressure on wins and losses … There is no pressure on them winning. We’ve had a heck of a year. Yes, games are important now, and fewer teams are playing, so it’s really important. We just want to be better.”

Perhaps it’s this temperament that’s led our Comets to so many victories this season.

A combination of competitive players showing true sportsmanship is what sports should be about. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could go back to the timeless philosophy of just doing the best one can? When did competition become so cut-throat?

It’s time to let these future leaders show us the way to be truly victorious. Win or lose in the state playoff, these girls are already champions of our community.

Rock on young Comets. Rock on.