09/19/05 — The Blazers: Champions in more ways than athletics

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The Blazers: Champions in more ways than athletics

Our entire community should join Goldsboro Mayor Al King in a pledge he made last week to the Wayne County Blazers basketball team.

The story was on page one of the Local/State section of Sunday’s News-Argus.

The Blazers won the state 11-and-under USSSA basketball championship. It finished among the top 20 teams in the nation.

The team did not compete in the national tournament because it did not have the financial resources.

Let’s take a look at these youngsters. As was pointed out in reporter Kenneth Fine’s story, they do not have expensive sneakers or equipment, or real assurances of a gym for daily practice. And on out-of-town trips, they have to find inexpensive places to eat.

But the youngsters, operating under the auspices of Wayne County Academic and Athletic Enhancement, Inc., excel not only in sports but in academics and in learning the other important aspects of life.

The coaches, parents and tutors work closely with the young folks. As a consequence, some of the youngsters are enrolled in the county’s program for the academically gifted and in the Duke University Talent Identification Program. Among their numbers are candidates for the Congressional Future Leaders’ Conference and participants in weekend programs of the state’s School of Science and Math.

Some of these youngsters, we need to realize, were kids who might have “fallen through the crack” of social, academic and athletic advancement except for the support and inspiration of concerned adults — and the spirit and support of each other.

The City of Goldsboro paid tribute to the Blazers and coaches Steven Richardson and Claude Waters at the function last week. It was there that Mayor King gave each of them an award citing their accomplishments and the “shining example” they set for other youngsters — and the entire community.

The mayor pledged that in the future, they will get more support from the community. All of us should join in that pledge — and in our praise and appreciation for these fine young people and their sponsors.

Published in Editorials on September 19, 2005 10:25 AM