Turnovers … by Alan B. Gibson

Posted May 19, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Congrats to the class of 2020 – especially the athletes

It will still be an event that will be a life highlight this week when the members of the Clinton County High School Class of 2020 reach out and accept their diplomas, flip their cap tassels and suddenly become alumni.

That their school year, and the sports seasons for our spring sport athletes were cut way short by this COVID-19 pandemic situation that we are encountering somehow makes us want to apologize to our young graduates – although it was none of our faults that they are missing end of the year events at school, classes, annual signing, outdoor sports and even now, a traditional graduation.

Still gang, we’re sorry this had happened to you.

In any event, this is my annual column offering up my congratulations on a job well done and on reaching this milestone in your life, and giving just a little advice, especially to our seniors who are also athletes of one or more sports.

Graduating is all about you, but if you take a few minutes to think back, much of your athletic success was due to the extra effort your parents/guardians put in throughout the years to make sure you were able to get the full experience out of your choice to play sports while completing your necessary school work as well.

Years before you earned a driver’s license, someone had to make sure you were delivered to and picked up from practices, then games – youth league and school games both .

Then there were the long drives from away games, the weekends at the gym or at the fields or the golf course, when they could have been doing something else.

There was the extra time spent making sure your school homework was completed, your uniforms were clean and ready for the next game and all of those papers and forms had been completed and turned in.

Take a minute – or two – and thank whoever that person was for taking that extra effort to make sure your athletic experience was complete.

Now, when you do take possession of your diploma and turn that tassel from one side to the other, even though this year you are going to be doing so inside your vehicle during Saturday’s COVID-19 Graduation Ceremony, you have at that moment joined the ranks of the rest of us who ,at one time or another, took possession of a Clinton County High School diploma – you became no longer a student, but an alumnus.

Don’t be a stranger.

Remember that extra boost you got from the noisy fans in the stands or on the sidelines cheering you on – those fans, for the most part, were alumni also. True, many were parents who were only out to support their student-athletes, but many, many more were returning to the scene of the same floor or field where they also formed so many life lessons and memories.

They came back to support the new class of athletes competing in our hometown Bulldog blue and white. Now it’s your turn.

The lessons you have gained from giving that extra effort to participate in sports while in school are something you will go back to for the rest of your life.

Let one of those lessons be the realization that throughout your high school athletic career, your community stood behind you. They came to the game, they wrote checks, they made donations and they proudly cheered you on.

When you won, they swelled with pride. When you lost, they felt your pain.

Now, it’s your turn to join the ranks and get behind the next team or squad that suits up in our blue and white.

Congratulations on your accomplishments, and again, we are all sorry that your experience has been tainted as it has with this COVID-19 experience.

But remember this – “once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog” and now it’s your turn- don’t be a stranger.

In the meantime – no sports at all stinks!