Let me set the scene for you: Loyola University, Baltimore, Md., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Friends and family, coaches, paraprofessionals bundled up watching the 2019 State Championship Corollary Tennis matches. Elkton High student athletes proudly representing Cecil County. No school administrators, school board members, athletic directors or reporters. No fanfare. Did you even know that Elkton High Corollary Tennis made it to the State Championship? or that they won the County Championship 2 weeks ago? Do you know the names and faces of your County Champs? I do, but only because my son is on the team. I am very proud of him and his teammates.
All over the news and all over community sites last week there was talk of the poor sportsmanship and horrendous behavior by student athletes at a high school football game. Not even my son’s school, and yet I still heard and read plenty about it. School administrators and board members, coaches, athletic directors, teachers, parents all on scene of that game. From what I understand, their presence was actually absolutely needed as they attempted to control the students’ bad behavior. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people there to root on their schools and their children. Pep rallies, news articles, athlete interviews… all in support of these athletes. The focus of a community dedicated our football teams and other high school sports teams. Consistently. Every day. Every week. Year in and year out.
But Corollary Sports? Most have never heard of them.
The Corollary Sports program are varsity sports at our high schools in this county that function in conjunction with Special Olympics. Student athletes with disabilities compete alongside their non-disabled peers in tennis, bowling and bocce ball each year. I am guessing many people have never even heard the term Corollary Sports, even though they have been in the county for many, many years. They have been mentioned in this newspaper approximately 5 times in the last 10 or so years (just an estimated guess). To my knowledge, they have never had a pep rally, the cheerleaders don’t come to their games, occasionally a school administrator will stop by one of their games for a few minutes. Mostly though it is just the parents, the students and the dedicated coaches and a few paraprofessionals who are there consistently, every practice, every game. Student athletes and coaches from all the high school teams take these sports seriously. They train hard. They compete at the highest levels. They want to win. They celebrate their victories. They feel defeat and yet celebrate the accomplishments of the other teams anyway. They cheer each other on… not just their own teams, but the opposing teams as well. They pick each other up when they trip. They give support to their teammates when they are overwhelmed, sad, upset. They shake hands saying “Good Game” and MEAN IT. They show true sportsmanship. Every last Corollary team in this County, in every sport. Best example came from a student athlete during one of the matches yesterday. This student said to his opponent: “Great serve! I didn’t see THAT coming! Really good job!” That is how it always is though…. EVERY game against EVERY opponent. It is the definition of Sportsmanship. I am proud of our Corollary Student athletes.
On behalf of my family and the other students’ families, I want to also take this opportunity to say thank you to our Coaches Brianna Dundore and Joshua Marley; Paraprofessionals Brenda Hughes, Ann Weavadou and Georgette Williams (and all the coaches and support from the other programs and teams) for all your love and support and dedication. The kids adore you and appreciate all the hours and kindness you give them. They could not have achieved this accomplishment without you! You give them a pride and sense of worth that is priceless. On behalf of my fellow parents…. Thank you. You do not go unnoticed by us. We appreciate you.
Yesterday, while at the State Championship, we received word that Elkton High’s Corollary Tennis team is being awarded the Sportsmanship Award at the School Board meeting next month. I believe I can truly say that we share this award with ALL of the County’s Corollary teams, as it is truly deserved. Thank you for this recognition of our children.
Why am I speaking out about this? What is my point? Sportsmanship. Society. Values. Why do we as a society place so much value on the teams that show the worst poor sportsmanship and little to no value on teams that exhibit true, heartfelt and dedicated sportsmanship? There is not a doubt in my mind why society in general is “going to ‘the hot place’ in a hand basket.” As a society we need to change our perspective and shift our focus… start feeding the good and not giving so much fodder to the bad. I think our community could benefit from exposure to the excellent values of our Corollary student athletes. I know I have.
Want more information about Corollary Sports? Go to the CCPS website https://www.ccps.org/Page/2675