By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Doing what’s right can pay off.
Recently representatives from Millington Central High School experienced that firsthand when the school was honored in Jackson as one of nine 2013-14 A.F. Bridges Award of Excellence for Sportsmanship. The awards named after the late A.F. Bridges, the first executive secretary of TSSAA, has several categories to recognize those schools, coaches and administrators that “Just do what’s right” in TSSAA member schools.
There is a winner for each district for each category in Class A, AA and AAA. And the winner for District 9 Class 3A for Sportsmanship was MCHS.
“We’re extremely proud,” MCHS Athletic Director Beth Hale said. “I don’t even remember being nominated much-less winning the award of excellence. I do know how hard our teachers, coaches, administrators and everyone has worked. Our thing is excellence in the classroom by teachers help push these same ideas of doing what’s right.
“It says they knew how to play the games, get in the trenches, fight the fight but do it with class,” she added. “They showed they knew what was sportsmanship and do what’s right but yet play the game as hard as they could.”
Hale said that’s a reflection of the coaches at MCHS who not only instruct on the sports they teach but hold the student/athletes accountable off the field of play.
The A.F. Bridges Awards program in Jackson gave the Trojans a chance to be recognized by fellow TSSAA schools. Awards handed out that day were for School System Administrator of the Year, Principal of the Year, Athletic Director of the Year, Female Coach of the Year, Male Coach of the Year, Official of the Year and Contributor of the Year.
The nominations were made by a Citizenship/Sportsmanship Committee in each athletic district and final selection has been made by a State Selection Committee.
Now MCHS’ Gymnasium will be the home of the A.F. Bridges banner for 2013-14 sportsmanship. And future Trojans can see the standard set by that group.
“That’s the biggest, passing it up to the future and getting the kids to understand not every time things are going to go your way,” Hale said. “How you handle it is your success. This is one of those things. It’s times as kids and adults, you’re going to blow it. But overall we want to be teaching doing what’s right with the ethics and values of the game. Sports without ethics and sportsmanship, they’re not worth playing.”
Millington teams last year had postseason success and sent athletes to State competitions. Hale said the student/athletes always remember they not only represent MCHS but Flag City when they wear the black and gold.
And the support from home to the businesses in Millington also contributed the honor from A.F. Bridges.
“If it wasn’t for the parents of these children standing by and teaching their children,” Hale said. “‘You have to do what’s right. We’ve got to act like we’re good sports. We have to show the ethics and values I’m raising you with.’ Then we have the sponsors come along who support the same thing. They want to see the good sportsmanship.
“They want to see our kids out their being citizens like doing things in the elementary school,” she concluded. “Right now we have a baseball team out there cleaning outside the school. It’s a part of our high ideas. This is a community award. Millington and the community honestly get this award. It just doesn’t go to the high school. It started way before that.”