Bangor's Cross Insurance Center is seen before the return of the high school basketball tournament in this February 2022 photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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Congratulations to all the high school basketball players, parents and staff who made this such a spectacular tournament. Being a Nokomis alum it has been an exciting season for me, but more important than trophies is the way it has brought communities together, especially after the challenges of the past few years. High school sports can teach us so much, and truly change lives for the better. A special thanks to all the boosters who see sports as a great investment in our future.

One of the important benefits of school sports relates to the top issue Maine businesses say we need to address: the high cost of health care and insurance. No one can sit on the bench on an issue this big. We need to train star players like nurses and fill the key positions in our schools. The nutrition and fitness habits our kids learn early puts them on track for success, and we parents need to be good role models.

Community programs for all ages at places like the YMCA are worth every penny. Physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Nothing kills more Americans than  heart disease and stroke. Health care as a portion of our GDP has skyrocketed and eaten up the wage growth that should have made our paychecks bigger. Investing in school sports and health education is a slam dunk that benefits us all.

Orion Breen