I do feel sorry for Lake Brantley High School's band. When our kids played in it, many of the members secretly (or not so secretly) wanted the football team to lose so they wouldn't extend the marching season by making the playoffs. (An understandable side effect of the unreasonable rule requiring students to play in the marching band if they wanted to be part of the concert band.)

Still, even the hardest-hearted (that would have been me, had I known) must have felt a thrill when Brantley became the first Seminole County football team to play in a State Championship game, which was held at Miami's Dolphin Stadium last night.

They lost the game to the powerhouse Miami Northwestern team. But they won more than they lost, according to Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi. Some excerpts from today's column:

Lake Brantley High didn't win the Class 6A state championship Saturday night, but it accomplished something even more admirable. None of the Patriots' players was arrested or paid off this past week.

Miami Northwestern's star running back was arrested last week on a felony charge of lewd and lascivious battery.... Any questions about whether [he] would be allowed to play against Lake Brantley on Saturday night were quickly answered when he was introduced before the game and received an ovation 10 times louder than any other player on the team.

If you wonder where college and professional athletes get their sense of privilege and pretension, look no further than the state's powerhouse high-school football programs. [Miami Northwestern isn't the only Florida high school football team with documented ethics violations.] Brantley's coaches and administrators obviously didn't get the memo: If you want to win the state championship, leave your conscience at home.

Get this: Lake Brantley actually has something called a "citizenship policy" that precludes athletes from participating in games not only for breaking major rules but for simple conduct violations. There have been instances when Patriots athletes have missed games for unexcused tardiness. "If one of our kids had been arrested, he wouldn't be playing in the state championship game," Lake Brantley Coach George Clayton said.

Lake Brantley may not have won the state championship Saturday night, but it did something even better in my book. The Patriots put the class back in Class 6A.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, December 10, 2006 at 7:29 am | Edit
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Wow.

Posted by IrishOboe on Sunday, December 10, 2006 at 5:26 pm
We had rules like that. Occasionally they would be broken, but generally they were upheld. The fuzziness probably happened if it was something the coach didn't particularly care about, though he was generally happy enough to make an example of a "star" athlete who had gotten in trouble either with the police, the law, or some rule of the coach. Though I do remember one guy did still get to play, though he didn't start, when he missed the bus, and drove behind the bus the whole way to the game. "We come as a team, we play as a team" was the general motto, i.e. if you miss the bus, stay home, since you aren't going to play anyway. Incidentally, that same policy also meant that if the varsity team lost, the junior varsity wasn't allowed to celebrate their win, at least not in front of the head coach.

Posted by Jon Daley on Thursday, December 14, 2006 at 4:01 pm
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