Martinsburg states its case on the field

December 15, 2010

A hearty congratulations are in order for the Martinsburg (W.Va.) High School football team, which won its first West Virginia Class AAA title over the weekend.
We're all aware, at least to some degree, of the skill, work and determination that goes into championships, which are not easily won.
But this year's victory for the kids from Martinsburg comes with an additional lesson in life, free of charge: Obey your parents, respect your elders - but don't always depend on adults to do the right thing.
The championship game was delayed a week while the courts decided who Martinsburg was to play - Brooke or South Charleston.
Four South Charleston players had been suspended from an earlier playoff game, meaning (according to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission) that they should not have been eligible to play in the school's semifinal game with Brooke. South Charleston won that game by a point, after some dissatisfied adults found a sympathetic Charleston-area judge who ruled that the WVSSAC somehow lacked authority over, well, school activities.
This brought the Brooke Board of Education into the fray, where it successfully got its own local judge to slap a hold on the title game until the state Supreme Court weighed in.
The Supreme Court had to come back from vacation to decide the urgent issue of who should play whom. Ultimately, and correctly, it ruled that the schools have the authority to police their own house, and Brooke was awarded a victory, temporary as it turned out to be.
None of this, of course, should be allowed to cloud Martinsburg's ultimate victory. So thorough was its win over Brooke, it is difficult to see any team in the state potentially standing in its path to a title.
But to the student-athletes and their supporters at all three schools, we would also say this: Play clean, play fair, play hard and confine the contests to the field of play. Football is a game, and our courts do not exist to accommodate disgruntled parents and fans when the breaks do not go their way.
In other words, do exactly as the boys from Martinsburg did. Go out and make your case on the field of play.

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