The Cleveland High Blue Raiders brought home the trophy in the State Traditional Wrestling Tournament in Franklin. Just a few days earlier, the Bradley Central High School Bears were crowned as State Duals AAA champions for the fourth year in a row. It was an outstanding effort by both teams who maintain a friendly crosstown rivalry in the sport.
Both teams and coaching staffs are to be congratulated on their respective championships, as well as the commitment and effort it took to reach the top.
A quote from T. Alan Armstrong sums it up, “Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the months, days, hours and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely a demonstration of their championship character.”
The character of the coaches and athletes was clearly evident throughout the competition. Cleveland coach Eric Phillips heaped praise upon his two rivals, Bradley Central and Soddy-Daisy. He called them “two unbelievable and great teams.” Bradley Central High coach Steve Logsdon returned the compliment by saying Cleveland deserved more than any team at the championships to take home the winner’s trophy. They had a desire to overcome and they’re ready to be champions, Coach Logsdon said. As a community we should be proud of the way these young men represented us at the state level.
The success of these two wrestling programs reminded me that our community is home to many champions. They can be found at all levels and in a variety of endeavors. For example, the Lee University baseball team won the 2010 Southern States Athletic Conference championship and advanced to the World Series ... finishing as runner-up to the national title. The Lee University Lady Flames volleyball team won the 2010 SSAC Tournament and were ultimately crowned national champions for the third year in a row.
Champions are also found in our middle and junior high schools. In February, the Lake Forest Middle School Bruins defended their region basketball championship with a 49-35 win over Bledsoe County while the Ocoee Middle School eighth grade boy’s basketball team won the Southeast Tennessee Athletic Conference tournament. The Cleveland Lady Raiders’ junior varsity volleyball team made history by winning its first ever tournament championship in the JV Choo-Choo Classic. The Lady Colts at Ocoee Middle School also brought home the championship in the 2010 Tennessee Valley Athletic Conference.
The BCHS Bearettes basketball team was crowned District 5-AAA champions while the Cleveland’s Blue Raiders clinched the 2010 District 5-AAA football championship.
Walker Valley High School, the county’s newest high school is also building a history of champions. The school has already amassed numerous district, regional and state sectional championships ranging from Football, golf, boys and girls basketball to tennis and volleyball.
The dance team at Cleveland Middle School also excelled recently in a number of dance competitions between Tennessee and Georgia. The 26-member middle school dance team brought home first place in junior high pom, first place in junior high hip hop and first place in junior high jazz. For many of these athletes, winning a championship is a dream-come-true and the culmination of months … and maybe years of hard work.
As mayor, I want to remind us that our community is filled with champions. Some are athletes. Others may be non-profit charitable organizations that minister to the needs of the less fortunate. Some are volunteers who spend countless hours giving of themselves to make Bradley County a better place.
You may not be able to pin an opponent on a wrestling mat or shoot a 3-point jumper. But everybody is good at something. You can befriend your neighbor, smile at a stranger, bake a pie for a sick friend, read to a shut-in or just listen to someone whose heart is hurting.
You too can be a champion … and you are the reason that Bradley County is Tennessee at its best.