Don't tell anyone this, but I wasn't a great athlete growing up.
A sportswriter who couldn't play the game? Shocking, I know.
Again, just between you and me, I remember my dad telling me about the time he was playing in the outfield on his little league baseball team. As he was chasing after a pop fly his cap came flying off his head, so he turned and went after it.
Meanwhile the ball dropped in for a hit and, well, I'm pretty sure what's what ended Pop's baseball career.
(He also jokingly asks me, "Did I ever tell you I was the eighth grade boxing champ? Too bad I was a senior in high school at the time.")
Fortunately, Dad expected a little more from me and that's exactly what he got ... a little more. I played sports as long as I could, but never seemed to graduate to the varsity level. Eventually, I found my way to the local newspaper and once I got inside the comfortable confines of the pressbox, I never looked back.
Why am I confessing these sins now? Simple, really. Last week I got the chance to cover the State 4-A softball championship between Roy and Salem Hills. The Royals won in a thriller and captured their second consecutive state championship.
On the next field over, Weber High's softball team was fighting to win the state 5-A championship.
Not far away, at Rio Tinto Stadium, the Davis High boys soccer team was winning a 5-A title with a 1-0 victory over Brighton.
If you're scoring at home, that's three local teams winning state titles all on the same night. Needless to say, the guys here at the Standard-Examiner's sports desk were pretty busy late last Thursday night.
But, really, it was worth the effort. After all, nights like that don't come around all the time and we were proud to tell the story of how the Royals, Warriors and Darts each won 2012 state championships.
I grew up loving everything about sports and as I noted earlier, even though I didn't always play well, I competed as long as I felt I could. Thankfully, I found another way to stay involved and, fortunately, it allowed me to be there last week when three of our local teams won championships.
Personally, the best part of it for me was seeing the kids celebrating with their friends, families and coaches. What a hoot it was just to stand there and watch the happy scrum of people embracing each other as more than a few tears of joy began to flow.
Watching the game unfold was a thrill, obviously. But after going down on the field afterward and speaking to some of the players and their coaches -- and after seeing such unabashed celebration -- telling the story for the next day's newspaper was a pleasure.
Having covered sports for a while now, I'm well aware of the work that goes into winning a championship of any kind. And I also know the pressure athletes and coaches put on themselves, sometimes to the point the pain of losing is even greater than the thrill of victory.
I remember a few years ago, former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan explained to me how victories are great, but with time the thrill eventually fades. The bad losses, however, stay with you forever.
Sad but true, I suppose.
Today, however, I'm here to tell you I'm happy for those kids at Davis, Weber and Roy. I'm glad they got to take a nice long drink from the victory cup. I know it made all the practices and the hard work pay off.
Congratulations, I hope the thrill never fades with time.
Oh, and one more thing ... never stop running after the ball, even after something makes your cap fly off.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247