Honor is something to be proud of

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2009

While it surely won’t get fans excited the way a state championship would, the distinction bestowed upon local schools Billingsley, Chilton County and Maplesville, as mentioned in the story to the right of this column, is remarkable.

Those three were among 103 schools across the state that are being recognized by the Alabama High School Athletic Association during All-Star Sports Week for not receiving a single fine or ejection during the entire 2008-09 school year.

CCHS fields teams in 12 different sports, meaning more than 200 athletes and coaches competed in more than 250 contests and not a single one was ejected from a game or did something to earn a fine.

Their exclusion from the list doesn’t mean the other four local schools are a bunch of bad sports. After all, it takes only one coach or athlete to make one bad decision to elicit an ejection or fine, and that’s what makes Billingsley’s, CCHS’s and Maplesville’s accomplishment worth mentioning.

AHSAA has begun requiring each athlete to complete a STAR Sportsmanship program before they become eligible. It’s good to see that the governing body of high school sports in the state is making improved sportsmanship a priority. The STAR program is a good start and more such initiatives would be welcome.

While the program has surely made a difference, the real reason behind the lack of trouble caused by the three schools that were recognized is that they are made up of quality players, coaches and administrators that have made sportsmanship a priority.

No games have been won with sportsmanship alone, but the example of the trait set by Billingsley, Chilton County and Maplesville is a reminder of what high school athletics are supposed to be about.