Boyle County’s mission is finished, despite loss

Published 10:53 pm Monday, December 9, 2019

The entire football season we heard one rallying cry above the rest: Finish The Mission. Boyle County’s three-word mantra this season was designed with a stellar senior class in mind, one that had reached the mountaintop once before as high school football players and was eager to return to that summit.

Saturday’s contest — you’ve heard about the result by now — meant the Rebels likely feel like the mission was not accomplished. But I’m here to disagree.

The mission was not built on wins and losses. Every year, countless numbers of high school seniors start the year with the goals of winning a state championship. Boyle County is no different than Danville, than Johnson Central, than anyone in that regard. Everyone wants to win.

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But as Johnson Central celebrated on the field and Boyle County left disappointed, I was reminded by one area coach’s comment to me during my first year as a professional sports writer. His team had just lost a region final.

“High school sports shouldn’t be the highlight of these kids’ lives,” he told me. “If we’re teaching them that, then we’ve failed as coaches, failed as parents, failed as a community. Everyone will have ups and downs in life, wins and losses. Sports teach us life lessons every day, and today is no different.”

Saturday’s game had many life lessons: Plenty was said before the game, but players can only control what they can control. Plenty was said during and after the game on social media about what coach should have done. Plenty was said after the game, incredibly by the same people bemoaning what was said before the game.

Life lesson? Some people don’t want you to succeed. Some people want to see you fail on your way to finish the mission. What they don’t know? The mission isn’t about wins and losses. The mission is about the lessons learned along the way.

I’m hoping we as a community can prove to these student-athletes that there’s more than wins and losses. That’s what the mission should be about — these moments shouldn’t define what the rest of their life will be. 

That goes beyond Boyle County: Our job as a community is to build up our youth, not tear them down. Whether those are youth girls soccer players, high school football seniors or anyone in between. We can show our support win, lose or draw. 

And if those same student athletes grow up to lead successful lives? 

Mission finished.