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Brian Hoffman Column 1.19.17

Terriers win Sportsmanship Award

 

The William Byrd football team has been awarded the John Markey Sportsmanship Award by the local Civitan Club. This is the fourth time the team has won the award.

“It’s a nice award to get because the officials do the voting,” said Byrd coach Jeff Highfill.

It’s also a nice award to get after you’ve had a good season. Sometimes “sportsmanship” awards are somewhat of a consolation prize for teams who fared poorly on the field, but the Terriers are coming off one of their best seasons’ ever. Byrd was 10-2 and made it to the third round of the playoffs.

“It’s nice when you get the award when you have a good team,” said Highfill. “That says a lot.”

Highfill is big on sportsmanship. He doesn’t allow his players, or even his coaches, to swear and that’s not always the case in high school sports. I couldn’t print some of the things that came out of our coaches’ mouths when I was in high school. And being on the sidelines for games, I’ve heard some stuff from teams around here I wouldn’t repeat, but never at Byrd.

Congratulations to the Terriers for being good sports, and good players. It’s a great combination.

 

Hello Bathroom Law, Goodbye Stagg Bowl

 

I’m never in favor of the government trying to legislate morality but I’m particularly interested in something that’s come up in recent weeks. It seems some conservative Republican zealots are trying to push a needless law through state legislature that could really impact the sports fans in our area.

Delagate Bob Marshall, a Republican from Prince William, deems it important to press for a “bathroom law” like they have in North Carolina. In essence, the law says kids in public schools and folks in government facilities would be required to use the bathroom of the gender they were born with.

Obviously, this is a touchy subject. Times have changed since I was in school. I’m sure we had kids who were confused by their assigned gender back in the ‘60s, but no one ever talked about it.

We’re in a different time now, much more sensitive to situations I can’t relate to. The majority of people, me included, are no longer in favor of bullying popular morals into others who may see the world differently.

I hope our state legislators have more important problems to discuss than which bathrooms children are using in public school. If not we surely must be fiscally sound and outstanding in every way. Don’t need to talk about fixing roads anymore.

And that brings us to the sports fans. When North Carolina passed a similar bill, entertainers, businesses and sports events fled the state like a room clearing out when a skunk waddled in. The NCAA pulled events out of North Carolina for that very reason, and one of the events ended up here in Salem, the Division III soccer championships for men and women.

It would be extremely disappointing if the NCAA pulled all the events out of “Championship City” because of a stupid and unnecessary law. Think of it. We would lose the Stagg Bowl, the NCAA Division III basketball championships and the NCAA softball championships just like that. That would be an economic hit and an embarrassment to the Roanoke Valley.

Last fall a great crowd turned out for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association football championship at Salem Stadium. It was originally scheduled to be played in North Carolina, but moved to Salem because of that bathroom law. The CIAA liked it here so much they want to come back for three more years, but you can kiss that goodbye if somehow that law was passed in our state.

Who knows what else we would lose in Virginia? Concerts canceling, businesses picking other, more progressive, states to locate in. Is this what we want to be, the insensitive state that no one wants to visit?

In reality, it seems like this bill has little chance of becoming law in our state. It doesn’t appear to have the votes to pass and, even if it did, Governor Terry McAuliffe has vowed to veto any bill of this kind that reaches his desk.

Hang with us, NCAA. We’re a lot better than that here in Virginia.

 

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