Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but in small towns like Hancock the losses seem to outnumber the wins by a large margin. As the smallest high school in the state our athletic teams are often outnumbered and outmatched. One of the advantages, however is if you want to play sports and are willing to make the commitment, there is a welcomed spot for you on the team.
Not so when I attended Bowie High School in the 70’s. Bowie was and still is one of the largest High Schools in the State. I was an average soccer player and was fortunate that we had just started the program. But, baseball…well that’s another story. I can still recall some 45 years later my disappointment at not making the JV baseball team. On the last day of try outs I remember crushing the ball in batting practice. I was pretty sure of myself when we checked the team list at the end of the day. I was devastated. The coach had already picked his team before that glorious day in the batter’s box. At a smaller school, I think my efforts would have been rewarded.
At Bowie, we played against teams of similar size. When you are the smallest school in the State like Hancock, finding appropriate competition can be a challenge for an athletic director. Much of the time, playing against larger schools, the Hancock Panther’s find themselves on the losing side of the score. The lesson of losing with dignity comes quickly if you are a Panther.
The real challenge is learning how to win. Learning how to win with grace and empathy is not something easily embraced if you have become accustomed to losing. Winning should be a time for celebration. Some believe it is a time to make up for all those awful feelings associated with losing. But not our Hancock Panthers! In their recent win against Hundred, the Panthers showed what it is to be a true winner. Certainly, our Panthers were proud. But more importantly, they showed empathy and compassion against the opposing team. The Panthers were happy to be a winner but they knew what it felt like to be on the losing side. Their actions during and after the game towards the Hundred team showed that that in more ways than one the Panthers are winners. Thank you. Panthers, for showing your hometown the true meaning of Panther Pride!