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Waves of support have swept across the Rio Grande Valley for Brownsville Memorial Early College High School High as it has advanced through the Texas UIL football playoffs. The team won in dramatic fashion at home against Corpus Christi Miller last week, winning 35-28 in the final minutes after trailing 28-7 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

It’s a big deal in a football-crazy state. Veterans is just the fourth Valley team to advance to the state semifinals and the first since 2003, when the Port Isabel Tarpons reached the same level.

We congratulate the Chargers on their success and wish them success against Smithson Valley in the Class 5A DI state semifinal game Friday in Corpus Christi. All tickets to the game that were made available in the Valley were sold within two hours of their release, so the local team can count on strong support in the stands.

Brownsville Veterans head coach J.C. Ramirez and the team celebrate after their victory over Corpus Christi Miller in a Region IV-5A DI championship game at Sam Stadium on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Brownsville. (Courtesy: Sixtum Pictures)

Their home city already held a victory parade this past weekend to celebrate the team’s success; we hope it won’t be the last.

The Chargers’ unexpected march through the playoffs and the Valley-wide excitement it has fostered comes at a great time, when news of war across the globe and political bickering at home that have included the deposition of the House speaker and the outright ouster of another Congress member, and political and legal fights continue regarding border policy.

But that’s one of the funny, and wondrous, things about sport — especially the most popular sports such as football and soccer. People rally together — even after a season filled with interschool rivalries — and forget about the troubles of daily life and concerns about alarming news reports, and devote their attention and energies to sending prayers and good vibes toward the local team.

You can just bet that a few devotional candles will be lit in this heavily religious region in support of the Brownsville players.

It’s a great element of the human spirit, showing that people are able to set aside everyday worries and bickering and delight in the success of a group of young athletes, their coaches and supporting staff, even if they normally are aligned with another school and might not know anybody from Brownsville Memorial.

The Brownsville Veterans Memorial Chargers celebrate their victory against Corpus Christi during the 71st annual Charro Day 2023 Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in downtown Brownsville. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

It certainly belies the oft-heard retort that it’s just a game. Devotees know better; they know that sport can provide a forum in which people can play out some of the most enriching parts of life that they might not be able to experience in their daily lives: cheering on champions who are fighting on our behalf; watching the setting and accomplishment of goals, and the often dramatic struggle to accomplish them. In athletic playoffs, they include the celebration of victory before we turn out attention to the next level, and the next foe.

And so, to the Brownsville Memorial Chargers we again offer congratulations and hope for continued success, knowing that this hope extends across the Valley.

But we also offer thanks. Thanks for a great season — so far — and for giving the people of the Valley a positive story and distraction from our daily struggles.

We join people across the region in wishing the team the best fortunes on Friday.