BUTTE, MT - Alright, what could that title possibly be about? Does it refer to the recent buzz about pickleball and its rise to the top as one of Montana's new favorite sports? Or does it refer to the balls of ones feet and how there's some weird new appreciation for them? Well the most obvious is that it probably refers to the passion men have for their nether regions, right?

Nope. We're here to talk about the rise of sports in Montana. Though the state has historically ranked lower and not one of the most sports-obsessed in the U.S., the state's interest in sports—particularly football—has been increasing over the years, with football being the most watched sport in Montana. Is anyone really surprised? This aligns with the national favorite, always being our show pony, the NFL.

Also, Montana's collegiate sports programs have very much been improving and growing, reflecting a broader trend in the development of sports in general. The University of Montana and Montana State University, the two primary state institutions, continue to invest millions into their athletic programs, with the unfairly overlooked Montana Tech here in Butte featuring heavyweight athletes in their basketball and track and field departments. Plus, Montana football—MSU finishing third in-conference and the Grizzlies finishing first in-conference— sure-fire signs that the trajectory of Montana sports are going sky-high.

Looking to the future, Montana sports look promising. Women's sports, the biggest on the rise I've seen personally being with volleyball and tennis, are growing into their own franchise and becoming something even more exciting to watch than it was before. The increase of volleyball clubs for girls and boys alike are proof of Montana's attention being directed more towards the sporting realm. And even though it doesn't involve balls (at least not the kind I'm talking about here), rodeo has been a smashing attendance records across the state as more and more people realize how freakin' awesome it is.

I left out a lot of sports—shout out ice hockey and my boys at MSU—but you get the point: as these trends continue on the upward tick, we can expect to see more notable achievements and perhaps increased national attention towards Montana's sports teams and athletes. This growth has been supported by the community's positive turn out for local sports, which plays a crucial role in the development of the field (no pun intended). I'm excited to see where our Montana love for all balls goes, and you should be too.

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