For some student athletes, obstacles are not a barrier

May 11, 2012

Any athlete can vouch for the fact that making the team and competing at a high level is tough enough, without anything else going on that might be considered a distraction.

The distraction, for example, of having surgery to correct a severe case of clubbed feet.

This is what happened to Britton Beard as a tot, when surgery left his feet full of pins and doctors were telling his family that walking would be a challenge, running would be a best-case scenario and, athletics? Out of the question.

But Britton has gone on to become a star, three-sport athlete at Boonsboro, where he won county honors as a defensive lineman. This week, Britton and several other student athletes here were honored with True Grit Awards, which recognize achievement in the face of adversity.

The program began in 1975 and, save for a four-year hiatus, has become a traditional ceremony honoring a senior student-athlete from each high school in Washington County and a second-year student at Hagerstown Community College who has demonstrated the ability to overcome hardship to become or remain a member of an athletic team.

Other athletes recognized this week were: Logan Bachtell, Smithsburg High School; Kyle Baker, Williamsport High School; Bethany Bowers, Clear Spring High School; Callie Butts, Heritage Academy; Jerel Carter, Hagerstown Community College; Kristina Cronise, St. Maria Goretti High School; Kelsey Koontz, Grace Academy; Danielle Langley, South Hagerstown High School; Jordan Leach, Hancock Middle-Senior High School; Connor McHose, North Hagerstown High School; Emmett Orfan, Saint James School; Karen Tejeda, Highland View Academy; and Zach Wolfe, Broadfording Christian Acedemy.

In every respect, these are astonishing young men and women. Especially at a young age, it’s easy to become discouraged if the dice don’t roll your way. It’s easy to quit, and it’s easier to quit when most people would understand if you did.

But none of these students took the path of least resistance, and because they didn’t, they stand as an example for all of us. Their full stories are available on The Herald-Mail website, and they are worth reviewing because all of us at some point have had, and will continue to have, challenges that might make giving up seem to be an attractive option.

Next time that happens, we might consider that other people have had bad breaks as well, but it didn’t put an end to their dreams.

So we salute these student athletes, not just for their own considerable accomplishments, but for the message they send to the community at large. And we wish them a successful future, which — given all that has transpired in their lives — we feel confident they will achieve.

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