It's Happening:That Bridgeport High School Heart & Soul

By Julie Perine on December 03, 2017 from It’s Happening via

The game was getting away from Bridgeport, but there was no lack of Indian spirit. Wrapped in several layers of red and white and with hot chocolate in hand, I watched the Beavers’ Mookie Collier and “Truck” Edwards run like the wind, stacking up yardage and points on the scoreboard for our southern West Virginia opponent.
But what I also saw was sportsmanship. It was the Tribe’s Josh Osborn who initially caught my eye. He tackled a Bluefield player to the ground, then extended his arm to pick him up, patting him on the back before he ran back to the sidelines. Josh wasn’t the only one. I saw others do the same thing.
I was also keeping an eye on the student section. Smaller in numbers than most games, there was a loyal bunch there – in the front row. Led by senior class president, Logan Crayton - sporting a football helmet and mega-sized megaphone – the students chanted in support of their Indians. And when BHS accomplished a first down or touchdown those kids were clapping and yelling.
As the fourth quarter ticked away, many in the stands headed to their cars; not the kids. They stood along that front row until the very last play was completed. And after that, they made a beeline to see their friends on the team.
It was then that my heart wanted to burst. My son and several others stood along that fence line for a good 30 minutes – perhaps longer – while Coach Cole and the rest of the staff talked to their team and senior members took a moment to let it all soak in.
The kids and many parents and other adults waited patiently for a second to hug a Tribe member and thank him for his dedication and an awesome football season. I saw some true character on the part of both the student fans and the players. There were tears and embraces; evident of the close friendships they share. There were words of encouragement and words of appreciation. My husband and I got in on the hugging action and every single player that we had the privilege of seeing thanked us for being there; that night and throughout the season. Their hearts may have been breaking, but they were not self-centered. They wore their hearts on their jersey sleeves; the same heart that had been shown for the past few months on the gridiron.
I walked away saying it sure is easier seeing those boys after a victory, rather than a semifinal playoff loss and ultimately the end of their high school football careers. But those kids – all of them – showed their true colors last Friday night.
This bunch of kids is special to me as I’ve watched them all grow up. I watched some of them play in the dirt at Bridgeport ballfields while their older brothers played. I watched them play peewee football and Jerry West basketball. I’ve seen them at their toughest and when they’ve been most vulnerable. You are good kids. I’m proud of each and every one of you and I know good things are in store for your futures – whatever you and God decide that is to be.

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