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Playing the right way

A wise man once said, “It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game.”

More than a few college football coaches that have been fired would disagree with that statement, but the premise is still a good one.

And the athletic teams at a few local schools have been playing the games the right way. Billingsley, Isabella and Maplesville will all be recognized for completing the 2009-10 school year without receiving a fine or an ejection.

The schools will receive a banner on July 14 at the third annual Sportsmanship Luncheon at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association in the past few years has placed an emphasis on better sportsmanship at its competitions, and the effort seems to be working. One hundred twenty-five state schools earned the distinction of incurring no fines or suspensions this past academic year, up from 104 for the 2008-09 school year.

“STAR Sportsmanship is now one of the eligibility requirements for every student-athlete attending an AHSAA member school,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said in a press release. “It, along with a renewed commitment by our administrators, coaches, students and communities, is making a major difference.”

The three local schools on the list should be commended for their commitment to sportsmanship. It’s not by accident they find themselves in this situation.

The players, coaches and administrators at Billingsley, Isabella and Maplesville are showing their respective communities what high school athletics are all about: developing young men and women into the kind of people we want leading our communities in the future.