Local high school athletes have made us proud

Published 11:57 am Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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Carter County and Elizabethton High School athletes have made us proud this basketball season.
The Hampton Boys team came away with the State 1A Basketball Title by beating Middleton Saturday. The Bulldogs only trailed once in the game – a brief time in the third period. But, they quickly recovered and came back to win. The fact that the Bulldogs kept their composure and were able to come back and win is impressive.
Not to be overlooked is the winning season that the Bulldogs Girls team had. They made it to the semifinals, making them among the top four teams in their division. And, the same with the Elizabethton Cyclone Girls team. It’s been a heck of a season for all three teams, but, an amazing season for the Hampton Boys team.
It was great Sunday to see the community turn out to support the school and team as they arrived back in Elizabethton with the “gold ball.” Scores of folks lined Elk Avenue to welcome the winning team home and hundreds awaited them at Hampton High School for a congratulatory ceremony.
High school sports give our athletes a chance to be creative, exercise, learn how to succeed in a tough environment, as well as how to fail. Several of these athletes, in addition to earning their academic credits, have also done middle college studies, and when they receive their high school diploma in May, they will also receive a college A.S. degree.
High school sports are a win for us all. For those who have played, team sports are a relatively brief endeavor in the game of life.
No matter how these athletes have loved playing sports in high school, the majority of these athletes will give up the game at the end of their high school years. Some will go on to play college ball.
But, this year’s passing moment on their timelines will make a positive impression that lasts forever. Ask Jerry White, Bobby Stout, and Carl Roberson, members of the 1960 Hampton Championship Team, who were on hand Sunday to celebrate with this year’s winning team. They still revel in that 63-year-old championship victory.
It is the reason that parents, even if they were never athletes, themselves, stand along the sideline at football games on cold autumn nights and attend scores of basketball games, and rack up hundreds of miles on their SUVs and minivans, littered with smelly socks, cleats, tennis shoes, candy wrappers, and water bottles. It is what turns them into ardent salespeople, shamelessly pitching holiday wrapping paper and bags of mulch to their neighbors, relatives and co-workers, and working concession stands at games. It is the reason they forego family vacations or plan them in odd places to coincide with out-of-town tournaments.
They know all of this is good for their children.
And, it is also good for our community.
These Hampton athletes know all about setting goals and reaching them. They have experienced the give and take of team play, learning to get along with people they might otherwise avoid.
They know how to fail, but not quit. They have let go of disappointment, and embraced new opportunities. They have shaken hands and smiled when they felt like crying, and held back their unbridled joy until the losing side has left.
In short, they are well on their way to becoming good citizens and effective leaders when they reach adulthood.
While these students are the standouts in their respective sports, there are thousands of other teenagers in our community who are sweating through practice, tearing up the turf, riding the bus, high-fiving the win, and warming the bench. They, too, are benefiting.
And that is a win for us all and that is why we celebrate the Hampton Bulldogs and their state championship. It is also why we celebrate the Hampton Girls and Elizabethton Girls on their team achievements this season. You make us proud!

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