The Montreal Alouettes did not make it back to the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup this year, but former Lakeside High School and Furman standout Brian Bratton still managed to garner some post-season headlines.
Bratton, who missed several games this year to injury, finished the season with 28 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns. He also averaged a career-best 16.9 yards per catch.
Stats, however, had little to do with his most recent honor. Bratton was recognized as the Tom Pate Memorial Award winner for 2012. The award is given each year to a player who “displays qualities to distinguish themselves from their peers.”
Each team in the CFL nominates one player who displays outstanding sportsmanship and makes significant contributions to their team, the community and the league.
I have news for the CFL: It can play football for another 100 years and not come up with a player more deserving of this award.
Six years ago Bratton made the decision to play in Canada. He has found a home in the league and a community in Montreal that loves him. Bratton will always be one of Columbia County’s own and he comes home every chance he gets. But he is beloved in his adopted home. It’s not just because he has amassed 263 catches, 3,127 yards and 23 touchdown receptions over the last six years. The fact that he is a solid human being is certainly more important.
If you talk to Bratton for five minutes you understand he is special. This is not something that has happened overnight. He was destined to be an influential person. Football simply gives him a platform to do it.
We all know one of those people. They always have a smile on their face and always seem to be busy doing something to help others. They are the people you just know will always do the right thing.
For years, I have written about his football accomplishments and tried to convey what a great person Bratton is. It is great to see that he is being recognized for that.
Football is a big part of Bratton’s life, but if you simply focus on his achievements on the field, you are really missing out on who Brian Bratton is. Lakeside High School and all of Columbia County will be proud of him long after he hangs up his cleats.