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Our view: Just keep battling, Kernels

(Matt Gade / Republic)

Forty-one straight losses.

The number is deflating.

Winless last year and thus-far again this season, the Mitchell High School boys basketball program has endured a remarkable downturn.

As another season begins to come to a close, we can't help but think of the student-athletes who have devoted so many hours to what's otherwise been a difficult stretch.

Think of the long practice hours. So many miles traveled. The bruises and strains.

Mitchell's upperclassmen who have put on their black and yellow Kernel jersey each night during these consecutive losses deserve a standing ovation at the team's final regular season home game next week on Friday night. (Tipoff against Pierre is set for 7 p.m. at the Corn Palace)

Already in life, many of these teenagers have shown they can endure hardship. Despite 18 straight losses this year, they haven't quit. They've been role models for the younger players in showing their ability to stay committed.

Despite everyone's love of winning, high school athletics are more than the game's final outcome.

Statistics show that high school students who are involved in extracurricular activities have a higher chance at graduation and will be more likely to succeed later in life. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, there were 7.963 million nationwide participants in high school sports in the 2016-17 school year, an all-time high.

Of those participants, a small percentage win state championships and even fewer become college and professional athletes. But each kid who truly commits to athletics learns valuable life lessons like working, juggling a busy schedule and dealing with failure.

The players who have been along for the ride of many or all of Mitchell's 41 consecutive losses, despite continuously playing the underdog role, are already ahead in life.

They've learned important lessons: Through hard times, just keep battling. Always show up. And no matter what, put forth your best effort.