Sports often provide a lot of special memories, like winning a game against your rival, winning a championship or even breaking school records, but last Friday night I witnessed a pretty special moment in high school football.

It’s not uncommon to see the crowd rush the field after a big win, but this time it was the team rushing off the field to reunite with their head coach.

As many of you already know, the North Laurel Jaguars rushed off the field and jumped the fence to join their head coach David Abbott after last Friday’s win over Leslie County. Abbott was serving a suspension for being thrown out of the game two weeks earlier.

What made the moment even more touching is the fact that I already knew it was Abbott’s last game as head coach of North Laurel, which at the time the players didn’t know.

The show of support from the players really shed a light on what kind of coach David Abbott was. Like our sports editor Denis House wrote in his column, unfortunately, it’s all about winning and losing. While I don’t place all the blame on North Laurel, I will say it seems to be more of a wide spread practice in high school then it should be. After all, high school is suppose to be the place our children learn about adversity, setting a good example and growing as young men and women.

If anyone who reads this agrees in the old saying, “It’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” then you cannot be too happy about Abbott’s resignation. Abbott taught the game of football, while trying to help boys become men. He always represented the school with class and dignity. He will be missed.

I would also like to say the last two weeks have really opened my eyes to one of the most ridiculous rules in high school sports. When a coach is thrown out of a game, he is suspended for the next game. I don’t totally disagree with that part of the rule, but the second part says the coach is not allowed on school property during the game. What is that?

I would understand if the coach made life threatening remarks or used physical harm while being ejected, but when it’s the coaches first offense and he gets treated like a felon and banned from school property, that’s ridiculous!

I witnessed one of the most classy coaches I have ever been around being forced to sit out in the cold on a store bench and then on a milk crate on the side of a hill just so he could be as close as he could to the players and the game that he loves while listening to the radio.

I just hope that North Laurel can find a coach with half as much integrity and love for the football program as Abbott. Unfortunately, those stats do not show up on the score board. Good luck coach, wherever you end up.

Tim Branstetter can be reached at tbranstetter@sentinel-echo.com.

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