Sweet sound of victory

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, October 17, 2012

As a general rule, we don’t devote much space on our Opinion page to sports.

Sometimes, when athletics are the platform through which an individual makes a greater societal impact, we will depart from that rule. Such an editorial appeared one year ago (“Proud of Mina Johnson,” Oct. 15) when she made the Southampton Academy junior varsity football team, but decided to sit out a game to keep the opposing team from forfeiting.

Other times, the magnitude of the athletic accomplishment alone is worthy of mention and commendation. Such as when the Southampton Academy football team traveled to Raleigh on Friday and pulled out a win that was as dramatic as it was significant.

You see, it’s not every day that a football team moves the ball 74 yards in two plays with 16 seconds left in the game to beat a very tough opponent.

It’s even more rare when that opponent is Word of God Christian Academy, which last year beat SA 50-12 at Pillow Field in Courtland, had gone 35 games without a loss and won state titles the last three years.

Yet that is exactly what the Raiders did.

Many find football, in many ways, to be a metaphor for life. It’s a difficult thing, both in sports and in life, to face down an opponent who has so soundly defeated you and yet maintain with courage the conviction that this time you will come out on top. Yet in ways that many sports don’t, football provides its players the opportunity to do just that.

In an interview with The Tidewater News earlier this month, Raiders’ Head Football Coach Dale Marks was quoted, “Football teaches a young man as much about growing up and what he is going to have to face in life as any sport going. Football is a tough sport, played by tough individuals, under tough circumstances and that is life too. You have setbacks, you get knocked down, you get up and you gotta keep going.”

And that, too, is exactly what the Raiders did.