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Coastal Courier 2nd place best online news project Division E Patty Leon
Patty Leon

It’s been a rough season for the local football teams, and while it’s easy for the fans to point fingers and place blame, they need to remember the kids that play the game still need our support.
Last Friday, I was on the sidelines at the Bradwell versus Jenkins game and became somewhat frustrated at the fans. As the game progressed, I started hearing the catcalls and the boos and some of it was directed at the players.
“We need a new quarterback,” I heard someone shout. “If you want to win, put the JV in,” someone else yelled.
Well, thank you very much fans, friends and family, that is a fine way to lead by example.
These are high school kids playing a sport they enjoy and yes — they can hear you.
Don’t you think it already bothers them that they are struggling this season? Do you really think yelling negativity at them is going to help?
These kids go to practice every day, have to keep their grades up in order to play and came out because they love playing football and having a sense of team spirit — win or lose.
Then they hear you — and they hang their heads.
Being involved in sports keeps them out of trouble, off the streets and teaches them valuable lessons about life. Sometimes losing teaches you how to pick yourself up and succeed — but only with the right support.
We should be out there cheering these kids on through the good and bad. Be there until the last snap of the ball and the sound of the buzzer. We should be picking them up when they have a loss and not breaking them down. Yes, they are athletes, but they are still just teenagers. They do this for fun and camaraderie — not a million dollar paycheck.
Also, some accuse me of being biased toward one team over another.
That’s simply not the case. Whether its football, soccer, volleyball softball, baseball or basketball, I’m there to report on the game, regardless of the results. I’m there to shed some light on the kids who left it all out on the field and did their best.
For me, it always has been and always will be about the kids and anything that we can do, as a community, to help the kids become better adults.
Yelling derogatory comments at them during a tough game, in my opinion, is not how we do them justice.
Bradwell will be on the road playing against its old rival Benedictine tonight at Grayson Stadium. If you plan to make the trip, I ask that you keep the chip on your shoulder at home.
Liberty County High School will play host to Wayne County tonight in a must-win game to have a chance at the playoffs. It also is the Panthers’ senior night. If your plans are to stay local, then I recommend you come out and support these players and cheer them on to the end. They will reward you by playing their hearts out.

Patty Leon is the sports editor of the Coastal Courier.

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