BRYSON CITY — The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) has started to run feature articles following examples of good sportsmanship and programs through its #SportsmanshipTogether series.
Through NCHSAA efforts to highlight positive moments across the landscape of high school sports, this instance of coming together came at an unfortunate time after an injury to a student-athlete during a football game in Bryson City, which is located in one of the western most regions in the state.
Playoff games are always intense. There is always an added edge when you know your season could end. In the opening round of 1AA playoffs a couple of weeks back, Swain County hosted North Stanly.
During the game, a Swain County player went down with what appeared to be a very serious back injury. As an eerie silence fell over the crowd, training staff attended to the player to assess the injury and determine the best course of action.
At that time, the Swain County Maroon Devils decided to kneel as a team to pray for their injured teammate.
It’s not uncommon to see teammates rally around each other during a very serious moment, but what was inspiring from the unfortunate situation was the response of their opponents from North Stanly. Uprompted, North Stanly’s coaching staff and players walked over to the far sideline and joined the Maroon Devils in kneeling and praying for their injured opponent.
“This is what this job should be about,” said Swain County Head Coach Neil Blankenship said. “[A] great job by the coaches and players at North Stanly, they were a true class act.”
If you see an example of excellent sportsmanship at an NCHSAA member school or event, contact James Alverson of the NCHSAA with the details (firstname.lastname@example.org).