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Once is a mistake, twice a habit — but 10 times?

December 13, 2010
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

"Never make excuses. Your friends don't need them and your foes won't believe them." - John Wooden

At a time when you really didn't want anybody to see nothing more than two football teams busting their collective hind ends to win a state championship, the Brooke football team gave way too many naysayers a chance to pile on.

And, yes, that's a dead ball personal foul, too.

The Bruins were flagged for personal fouls 10 times in Saturday's 30-0 loss to Martinsburg for the West Virginia Class AAAchampionship at Wheeling Island Stadium.

That number was more than their first downs (6) and passing yardage (8).

Let's get this straight - without those 10 hankies Brooke was not going to win that football game.

Martinsburg was the better team and deserved the state championship.

And, no South Charleston people, there is no asterisk beside this title.

You see, if all the Black Eagles players had reacted to the Hurricane punch like Raymond Coleman did, then after beating Brooke, your team would have had a chance for its third straight state championship.

While most of the South Charleston players were running toward the fight, Coleman calmly walked off the field. He walked toward the bench, not the middle of the field.

The Bulldogs have been the forgotten team throughout the past two weeks.

During the excessive court cases that lasted too long, Martinsburg was the team in the eastern panhandle just waiting to play a state championship game.

While lawyers and judges decided who would play in the title contest, the Bulldogs just wanted a chance to get on the field.

It didn't matter if it was Brooke or South Charleston, Martinsburg would have been the favorite.

"Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then." - Wooden

And, while everybody but the South Charleston contingent was tearing apart the boorish behavior of the players in the brawl against Hurricane and subsequent decisions by the adults, the Bruins just went about their business, waiting for a chance to play a game while taking the high road.

That high road took a terrible detour Saturday night.

In this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, Brooke acted no better than South Charleston did, sans the fisticuffs.

All people are really noticing is how the Bruins acted like a bunch of selfish 5-year-olds on a playground, getting penalty after penalty after penalty for no apparent reason.

And, so, while Martinsburg is at home putting a championship trophy in its hallway, the Bruins are putting its second-place one next to the one they took home last year.

Yet, this one is different.

No, not all players were acting like some NFL player on Sunday afternoon and his "look at me" attitude.

But, it doesn't matter.

It's a team game and the team and the program received a black eye and one it deserved.

You win with class and you lose with even more class.

That was not done.

"Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there." - Wooden

Brooke's season has been tarnished because of a select few and that's not something to be proud of.

I have no idea who received the personal foul penalties because I was not there and did not watch the replay.

I just know that somehow, some way they should be punished for putting themselves about the team.

Not slightly above the team mind you.

Their attitude was like the pompous king and his lowly peasants.

They obviously did not care about the teammates they had spent so much time with since losing last year's title game.

They obviously did not care about the teammates they sweated with during two-a-days.

They obviously did not care about the teammates they played alongside during the comeback victories over University and George Washington.

Win or lose, Brooke had a chance to prove it belonged in that championship game with Martinsburg.

That didn't happen and the 30-0 score had nothing to do with it.

"The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching." - Wooden

I knew it wouldn't take long and it sure didn't.

Parents are already whining about playing time.

Playing time began in the summer.

Playing time is also about what the kid has done since the start of practice.

Was the athlete at all the scrimmages?

Was the athlete at all the practices and on time to them?

While in practice, what has the athlete done and how hard has it been done?

Are they listening and working hard all the time, most of the time or some of the time?

You, mom and dad, do not know that.

Again, if your child has no problem with the amount of playing time, neither should you.

Not to overstate the obvious, but you are not playing - your child is.

And, if your child has a problem with the amount of playing time not given, it is not your responsibility to talk to the coach or go over the coach's head to the athletic director or principal.

It is the job of the athlete to ask the question to the coach.

And, once the question has been answered and the athlete is satisfied with the answer, you are also satisfied.

Again, not to overstate the obvious, but you are not playing - your child is.

"Happiness begins where selfishness ends." - Wooden

If Wooden were to coach in this day, he would be fired before winning a national championship.

He set foot on the campus at UCLA in 1948 and had not won a national championship through 1963.

The Wizard of Westwood then went 339-22 over the next 12 seasons, winning 10 national championships, including seven in a row. In that run was four undefeated seasons.

Wooden had a seven point creed, which was given to him by his father Joshua early in life:

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com).

 
 

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