I am writing to share a remarkable example of perseverance and sportsmanship involving three Columbia County schools.
Lakeside, Evans and Greenbrier High School competition cheerleading teams took the floor the weekend of Nov. 3 in the Middle Georgia AAAA Regional event held in Toombs County. Each team hoped to win or place high enough to qualify for the upcoming Georgia High School Association (GHSA) State Finals (Nov. 10).
All three talented squads qualified; what is worth sharing is "the rest of the story."
After both Lakeside and Evans had expertly completed their routines, Greenbrier took the stage. All was going well until a GHS tumbler was severely injured when landing awkwardly after attempting a difficult stunt midway through the routine. The event stopped immediately and the cheerleader was wheeled from the gym on a stretcher (with what turned out to be a badly damaged knee and a broken leg).
I am not certain exactly what brought the tear to my eye or the feeling of pride to my chest. Perhaps it was the standing ovation from a packed gym as the disappointed athlete was wheeled to the ambulance. Perhaps it was seeing the Evans and Lakeside cheerleaders rush to comfort the injured Greenbrier girl as she writhed in pain. Perhaps it was the courage demonstrated by the Greenbrier squad as they regrouped in a matter of minutes to rework the second half of the routine.
Perhaps it was the way the GHS girls fought back through adversity despite the devastating blow to their teammate to absolutely stick the second half of their routine and win the competition outright.
Or perhaps it was the well-wishing Lakeside and Evans parents and students who offered gracious congratulations and hopes for a speedy recovery.
Win, lose or draw, I was moved. I was also greatly encouraged to see what kind of athletes our Columbia County coaches are producing - i.e. those who understand that we compete in life for many more reasons than simply winning - and frankly, I think they were all winners on that Saturday.
Doug Linton, Evans
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