Athletes, coaches feed on support

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 26, 2007

It takes a team to be successful in almost any venture.

That is one of the things sports teaches us early is that we have to work together to achieve a goal.

Bertie High School has several teams working together right now to try to compete well in their respective sports.

A team that I was impressed with however is the Bertie High School coaching staff.

Friday afternoon the Lady Falcon softball team had a game that was huge. They worked hard in a battle of Northeastern Coastal Conference unbeatens and came up just short.

They didn’t fall due to lack of effort however, on their part or that of the fans. The place was packed with fans rooting on the Bertie squad.

Among them was a conspicuous group of individuals. That group included Athletic Director Marvin Rankins, Head Football Coach Tony Hoggard, Head Girl’s Basketball Coach Alice Lyons Bennett, Head Boy’s Basketball Coach Calvin Moore and assistant football coach Bull Ruffin.

Head Baseball Coach Randy Whitaker also caught part of the game, despite trying to support his junior varsity baseball team that was playing at the same time.

I’ve lamented in this space before about the lack of support or focus in spring sports. At many places in our area, the lone show of support comes from an AD trying to make the rounds to four different games at once. Some places you don’t even get that.

It is that normal spectre that makes that made me stand up and pay attention to the support of so many coaches at Bertie.

When the game was over, a tough 5-4 loss, every one of those coaches made their way on the field to support Head Softball Coach Jackie Copeland and her assistant, Jeremy Dawson.

That support is something that really shouldn’t be noteworthy. It should be commonplace and, at some places and some times it is.

Hertford County High School Baseball Coach Chris Towell is supportive of almost every program at the school. He’s at football games and basketball games supporting the Bears. The same was true of Joan McCullough before she left the school.

Ridgecroft School’s Nancy Brittenham, Northeast Academy’s Joella Brown, Bethel Christian Academy’s Joe Mizelle and Lawrence Academy’s Bill Swain are also supportive of the other teams at their schools.

I think more coaches should be concerned about the overall athletic program. It would do the student-athletes good to see all the coaches supporting each other.

Friday was a good reminder that there are still those that do. It was a reminder that teams are more than those who playing sporting events n sometimes it is those who are coaching them as well.

I’ve complained about many things about Bertie’s athletic program and, as a 1989 graduate of the school I have that right. I also have the right to be proud to be a graduate and Friday I was.

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome.

You can reach me at or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.