Our View: Bear River football team a testament to school sports, society
It’s all about the memories.
When the dust settled and the tears had dried, the heartbreak of Bear River’s double-overtime loss to backyard rival Colfax began to ease, if even just a little.
And, as time goes by and the years roll on, the disappointment of losing will never fully vanish, but will instead — hopefully — morph into a life lesson, a building block, possibly even a moral compass.
Picture the scene: Two teams which have met in the Division V section championship game for three of the previous five seasons, two teams which have dominated their division of section competition for most of recent history, two teams that lost only to each other this season but beat everyone else. Then, when time ticked down to zero at the end of the fourth quarter of the championship game, the score was tied.
And ditto after the first overtime.
Bear River then scored the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime. Fans, players, coaches, friends and family went crazy. Horns blared, shouts carried, even some tears shed.
Then the whistle blew, drawing attention to the penalty flag on the field. The play didn’t count. The score was null and void.
The Bruins were given another chance but came up short, as this time the Falcons, the rivals, made the play to earn the championship banner.
Within a matter of seconds, all those same fans, players, coaches, friends and family went from pure elation to disbelief and defeat.
And yet, no one observed a loss of composure. No fights (on the field between players or in the stands), no skirmishes in the parking lot were reported. Just a good-sportsmanship handshake among players and coaches at mid field, a celebration on one side and congratulations on a good, tough, gritty season on the other.
You see, the Bruins did their best impression of the little engine that could. A school brimming with around 1,200 students a few years back, Bear River was hit hard during the recession and sits around 600 enrolled now. Popular teachers and administrators have been laid off. A popular principal took a promotion with another school district and the interim principal suffered a horrible, personal tragedy when his son was recently killed.
On the field, the Bruins struggled to field enough players on the varsity squad to overcome injuries or adversity, fielding just 22 players for most of the season.
Bear River entered the playoffs by taking down a Center squad full of players who towered over the smaller Bruins. A road trip to higher seeded Ripon was next, where Bear River once again prevailed against a “better” squad.
And yet there they were, standing toe-to-toe with a team that had already defeated them earlier in the season, heading into double-overtime against their arch-rivals.
Where do the Bruins get such moxie?
Obviously the players get the credit. Co-head coaches Terry Logue and Scott Savoie have seen their share of ups and downs with the squad. Logue has been with the team since 1987, sans a few years spent helping coach at Sierra College. The pair including Logue, who has been fighting Parkinson’s Disease for a decade, has provided quite effective and inspirational leadership.
The Bruins came out on the short end on the scoreboard in their season’s final Friday night, but those students have a memory to build on for the rest of their lives.
Hopefully what they remember most will be the class, dignity and perseverance they exhibited during the biggest game of the year.
Because when the dust settles, they should lift their chins in pride for their success and the way they represented their school and community in one incredible game and one impressive season.
Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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