Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and two groups I always looked up to are in the news this week.
When I was a kid, I looked up to the high school football and basketball players in Riverton, and today’s kids do the same with the Bulldogs and Grizzlies. High school athletes need to remember that. Some may object to being placed on a pedestal, but they are on that pedestal in the eye of the public, most especially kids.
I see the adoration in the eyes of the ball boys who run up and down the sidelines to toss the game ball to the officials during a change in possession. Logan Hitz in Lovell and Landon Townsend at Rocky Mountain look positively thrilled when they speak to – and are spoken to – by one of the high school players.
As the Lovell Bulldogs head into this Friday’s state title game in Laramie, one thing they can be proud of – win or lose Friday – is how they have conducted themselves this season. Except for a couple of rare exceptions, the Bulldogs have conducted themselves with class on and off the field. The entire team received a sportsmanship award following the Big Piney game.
Coach Doug Hazen sets the example. In our weekly interviews, he always stresses team success and is rarely critical of individuals or the opponent. He said this Bulldog team has a strong camaraderie, and he said there has been little finger pointing this year.
Whether they bring home the state title trophy Friday or not, this team can hold its head high as an example of sportsmanship and conduct that kids of all ages can look up to.
Another group I have always looked up to is our veterans, and I’m far from alone. Some merely served their time in the military stateside, but many others put themselves in harm’s way in far away lands.
We owe them all a debt of gratitude.
Rocky Mountain High School will honor local veterans during a special program today (Thursday) at 9:45 a.m., and the North Big Horn Senior Center will follow suit Friday at noon.
Most vets are extremely reticent to talk about their service. Most people would hardly know it if a soldier, sailor, airman or marine was a hero, unless informed by a comrade.
It’s just not in their nature. There is a humble air about most of our warriors who have served their country.
And so this week as we celebrate our young heros on the football field, let us also remember to celebrate our veterans who fought for us on the battlefield. Thank a veteran. Thank his spouse. Thank his kids. And thank his parents and siblings. All paid a price – for the rest of us.
Happy Veterans Day, and good luck Bulldogs.