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Sartin serious about football, life

By Staff
Aug. 12, 2001
Not to detract from the pressing issues in our community, but something far more serious is just around the corner. High school football. It's a religion in our little corner of the world.
I want to thank all of the coaches, players, parents and administrators who are working with us on production of The Meridian Star's annual high school football publication. Absent a full-time sports editor and with a few new faces in the department, our task will be a bit harder for the first part of this new season.
Staffing
Under the guidance of Steve Swogetinsky, himself a former sports editor of this newspaper, and the talents of sports writer Marty Stamper, newcomers Josh Taylor and Matt Barrett and an assist from the news side's Fredie Carmichael, I have no doubt the publication will be outstanding.
We'll add another experienced sports writer to the staff toward the end of the month and introduce him to our readers when he gets here. Suffice it to say I believe all of you sports fans will like him and his work.
To help staff the games, we'll also use special correspondents, whose stories you'll see as the season progresses. This talented group of mostly young men and women, maybe a few old-timers, are invaluable in helping the daily newspaper fill gaps in coverage and give some attention to schools and players which certainly deserve the coverage.
And, as always, the challenge of these writers is to write copy  not just for the football special but during the season  that adequately accompanies the terrific photos our photographer, Paula Merritt, will shoot. Readers of The Star will already know Paula's work over the last 14 years.
An award-winning photographer, she has the ability to capture that moment in a game when even an average player does something extraordinary. She has a great eye for the shot that will make you sit up and take notice.
The football tab, as it is known informally around the office, will be in your Star on Aug. 30. Interviews with area coaches and players on their outlooks for the season ahead will be included, along with a wealth of other information to which fans can refer as the season unfolds.
Player's coach'
As another football season begins and excitement builds, I listened to a presentation by Meridian High's head football coach, Bill Sartin, the other day at the Meridian Kiwanis Club. Sartin was described as a "player's coach" and, like at other schools around the area, his troops are hard at work practicing for their first game on Aug. 31.
Sartin is continuing a tradition at Meridian High. It includes of making Ray Stadium a miserable venue for visiting teams and making other teams think hard about how they'll play his Wildcats. Reflecting his own view, his teams like to hit. Hard.
An outstanding player in his own right, Sartin was injured while playing for Mississippi State before he could go on to a professional football career. But the drive and enthusiasm with which he approaches a new season is infectious. His players and assistant coaches know he's serious about the game. Every game.
More importantly, he's serious about the positive influence athletics teamwork, discipline, physical conditioning, competition can have on a young player's entire life. In that sense, he is giving his players the fundamental skills that can take them far with whatever the future holds.
Some people argue that high school football is only a game. I say the final score isn't as important as the lessons learned and in that sense football is much more than a game. It's about working hard, dealing with the emotions of winning and losing. It's about ups and downs, teamwork, carrying your share of the load, one play after another. It's about attitude an adversity, pride and discipline, teamwork and doing your best.
It's a lot like life. Coaches like Bill Sartin already know this. The rest of us just need a little reminder from time to time.
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3213, or e-mail him at bbynum@ themeridianstar.com.

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