OPINION | EDITORIAL: In defeat, coach exemplifies grace

OPINION | EDITORIAL: In defeat, coach exemplifies grace

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L aurels to the White Hall High School football team for its impressive run in search of a state championship.

The team won eight games and lost two during the regular season and then won three more before running into its nemesis — Pulaski Academy — for a second time, in the championship game.

There are plenty of team accolades to go around, and doubtless, the players will never forget their memorable journey. But perhaps a more timeless memory will be how their coach, Bobby Bolding, handled himself.

For one, Bolding has been there, done that, having appeared in several final games in his career. And he said he just doesn’t get all worked up on game day, saving that energy for getting his players ready for kickoff.

After playing Pulaski Academy during the regular season and losing by a lopsided score, Bolding knew what was coming at his team on Friday night. And still, it was another lopsided result, with Pulaski Academy doing what it has done — be victorious — in so many championship games that it’s hard to keep track of them all.

We can only imagine that the players had their pride hurt by the mostly one-sided performance, but if they looked toward their coach, which they likely did, they saw someone who, in defeat, was much bigger than the moment.

“Hats off to them,” Bolding said, referring to his team’s opponent. “That’s what they do. They executed it. They took advantage of it, went and scored. They’re a great football team.”

No excuses, he said. Just a well-rounded foe that had its day.

And then he praised his own players.

“We were not just glad to be here,” he said. “We wanted to win the football game. Our kids worked hard this week. They just whipped us. Hats off to them and their coaches.”

So as one season slides into another and another and students graduate and move on in life, a lot is forgotten along the way. We hope, however, that these young men — and really, everyone — find a way to take that particular measure from Bolding’s X’s and O’s playbook and infuse it into their own lives.

As the saying goes, be humble in victory and gracious in defeat as both are builders of good character, which is something that lasts a lifetime.

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