Each of the athletic teams for schools across Bladen County have packed up their equipment and turned in their uniforms for the final time during the 2013-14 school year, which means it’s a good time to give accolades to everyone involved.
From the first kickoff of football to the final pitch of the softball/baseball season — and all the sports that took place in between — Bladen County saw numerous successes, as well as a few struggles. But whether a team celebrated a winning season or experienced a losing record, every single player, coach, parent and supporter deserves our kudos.
Although the books have been officially closed on another school year’s sporting events, fans across the county won’t soon forget the Eagles’ and Knights’ charge to the football playoffs; the Lady Eagles’ deep run into the basketball playoffs; Courtney Thompson finishing her career with West Bladen as the state’s No. 4 all-time leading rebounder; the Lady Knights’ 20-win season in softball; the Lady Eagles’ first softball playoff appearance in six seasons; the Knights’ baseball playoff berth; and Kayla Thompson’s state golf championship success with West Bladen.
And there are so many other stories, from middle school through high school, that will resonate long after the school year ends next month.
While we are passing out accolades, we can’t forget the time, effort, energy and teaching done by every coach in the school district. Each of them not only instills the necessary athletic characteristics of hard work, sportsmanship and teamwork, but also many life skills that will serve their players well into the future.
And quite honestly, there isn’t a better group of folks anywhere who will point your children in a positive direction and be solid role models than those who coach in Bladen County.
We would be remiss if we didn’t recognize the parents of those student-athletes. From making sure their children get back and forth to practice and competitions, to taking an interest in their studies, to attending the competitions … parents can be the difference between a student-athlete’s success and failure.
And finally, we applaud each and every supporter — which includes all of Bladen County’s taxpayers — for making athletics possible at each of the schools.
It’s been a terrific year on the fields, diamonds and courts. And the next one isn’t far away.