Nowadays we hear so much about the awful sportsmanship we encounter on the softball fields. From obnoxious parents and arrogant players with attitudes, and rudeness and even fighting among parents – we had to share perhaps one of the most beautiful things we have ever experienced on the softball field.
As you may or may not be aware last week started the Georgia High School Associate State tournament in Columbus Georgia. Region winners from around the state play 2 rounds of a 2 for 3 series against the top 4 teams from regions around the state. The goal of course is to get to the Elite 8, who make it to the state tournament.
For Bremen High School, the second round of playoffs brought the a long 4 hour bus ride away to Berrien County, Georgia. The winner of this round would advance to the State Tournament.
So obviously, this is a big game. There are lots of emotions to work through. Lots of feels. Lots of energy. Dreams that will continue and come to an end.
Long story short, Bremen High School beat out Berrien County to advance in a 2 game sweep. This was a season ender for Berrien County which always brings a tremendous amount of emotions.
Unlike travel ball, in high school ball there is one championship game, and it culminates after months and months of becoming a team, and hundreds of hours of practice and a thousand miles of travel to play games on school nights. By October, teams are exhausted, and worn out and are digging deep to stay alive.
So getting knocked out in the second round of playoffs is painful for anyone. When you work so hard, which all these teams do, and come one game short of the end goal, it is heartbreaking.
But the amazing and most beautiful thing was that on Thursday during the first games of the state playoffs, Berrien County coaches and team mates showed up to watch.
And who did they come out and support? Bremen High School. The very team that knocked them out of the State Tournament.
Whose bleachers did they sit on? Who were they cheering for? Where did the coach and her team camp out to watch a game? None other than the Bremen Bleachers.
The kids from the team were delightful to say the least, polite, humble and encouraging. The coach was exactly the same. Instead of being bitter and hoping to see Bremen High School get knocked out, they were there cheering for the same team that knocked them out. They were there to learn, and to experience and exhilaration that comes from a State Championship.
And of all the teams at the tournament that they chose to cheer on, they chose Bremen High School, the same team that knocked them out.
Even more stunning was the fact that several of the players from the Berrien High School team reached out to several of the players from Bremen High School on social media, finding as many of them as they could, wishing them well, congratulating them, and cheering them on with words of encouragement, and generous personal messages that displayed a level of sportsmanship very seldom seen in youth sports today.
No one told these kids to do this. All we ever hear about is how awful social media is. And yet, girls who have never met before, girls who share the love of softball, who respect the game and their opponents, took the time to find players from Bremen High School and let them know they were cheering for them from so many miles away….
That is big. That is beautiful. THIS IS SOFTBALL!
That says a lot about not just the girls but the coaching staff and the parents who have raised these athletes. It speaks volumes for the expeectations and culture of the school itself and of team that Berrien County, Georgia is and will be. They are a young team, and we have no doubts that their attitudes and sportsmanship, love and respect of the game will take them far in the years to come.
And the kids from Bremen High School, want to say a HUGE thank you to these folks for being so supportive not only while we visited their school, but afterwards and through the State Tournament as well. We hope to be able to return the support in the year to come, because your team showed grit and fight and CLASS like none other.
And so Today, we tip our hats to the team from Nashville, Georgia in Berrien County Georgia!