• 57°

Spirit, heart make champs, not score

Words probably won’t help most of the Ironton Fighting Tiger football team feel better after they were unable to bring a championship trophy home this Saturday.

Monday, December 06, 1999

Words probably won’t help most of the Ironton Fighting Tiger football team feel better after they were unable to bring a championship trophy home this Saturday.

All they know is that at the end of the game, they were not on the winning side of the score.

They might even think that their city is disappointed in them and feel ashamed that their night didn’t end in a state title.

But that is only because the wound is fresh and they cannot see the big picture.

The truth is their city could not be prouder.

Champions are not measured in scoreboards. Sometimes, no matter how great a team you are, a title is just not in the cards for you that year. A bad bounce, a bad call and a sure victory can slip away.

True champions are simply those who play with every ounce of heart they can muster. They don’t give up until the last second ticks off the clock, no matter how hard it might be to stay focused.

They represent their school and their community with dignity and class – even if they are faced with an opponent who doesn’t know the meaning of those words.

And, they maintain perspective – even if that is a tougher job than getting across the goal line.

The 1999 Ironton Fighting Tigers might not be able to put a trophy in their school’s case, but their refusal to give up – even when faced with extraordinary odds – makes them one of the finest teams ever to have worn the orange and black.

Yes, Tigers, your community is proud. We admire your spirit, your sportsmanship and your skill, but most of all we point with pride to the fact that even when the critics downplayed your chances, you played the best football you knew how to play.

You showed several Ohio teams that the name Ironton means excellence. We couldn’t expect a better season than that.