OUR VIEW: Basketball players learned hard life lesson

Published 5:14 am Friday, March 8, 2013

Punishment was rightfully swift for the members of the Bogalusa High School basketball team who were involved in a game-ending melee with West Feliciana recently.

During a bi-district playoff encounter at BHS, an altercation broke out among players with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter and the Lumberjacks trailing 68-54. Two players from each team were ejected and before the officials called the game.

The incident was not only an embarrassment to everyone associated with the school but sadly a reflection on Bogalusa coach Ken Martin, who deserves much better. Martin, the dean of the Florida Parishes schools, is a man of impeccable integrity and professionalism. He is a champion of his students and is committed to their welfare.

The longtime coach is a shining example of what is right among today’s educators, and to see the unruly conduct muddy his reputation is unacceptable.

Through the consequences meted out to the players, BHS officials have hopefully delivered a message to the school and the community at large that such behavior will not be tolerated. Those punishments likely have the blessing of the school board since board members, heralded by Brad Williams, often promote the need for discipline among students.

The fight marred what had been a successful season for the Lumberjacks, who brought home a district title and added another piece of hardware to an impressive trophy case. Martin was correct, however, when he pointed out that the season may well be remembered not for the championship but for its unsightly epilogue.

Time is a healing salve, and in the future this team ultimately will be remembered for its accomplishments, and the fight nothing more than a footnote.

The student-athletes are remorseful for their behavior and admitted to learning one of life’s harsh lessons. Perhaps it was a victory after all.