Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Armwood football rises even in defeat

The Miami Central band played louder as its football team dominated the Armwood Hawks in the Class 6A state championship Saturday.

The skies grew darker and the day grew longer as the Hawks struggled in every phase of the game. Outmanned and outmatched against nationally ranked Central, Armwood endured what Coach Sean Callahan called a "tough lesson."

The lesson, however, may prove more worthy in defeat than in victory. The process of returning to the championship two years after winning a title — only to have the Florida High School Athletic Association subsequently strip the championship away because of player eligibility violations — could turn out to be a pivotal chapter for the program.

And the school.

A scene from the aftermath of the defeat illustrated how much football can define a young man's character. As the Hawks lined up for the postgame handshake with the Rockets, an Armwood player lingered in the back — too depressed and too frustrated to get up and join his teammates.

Parents — not his own, interestingly — leaned across a railing and told him: "C'mon, we're better than that. You're better than that."

He stood up and got in line.

A simple lesson. A life lesson. And football at its best.

Such prep football moments always seem to be on the verge of being diluted in today's rising focus on winning state titles, playing in nationally televised games and propping up the cottage industry of college football recruiting. High school football has never been more popular, or more vulnerable.

Some will argue that it's those changing values — parents so obsessed with giving their kids an edge in the chase for a college scholarship — that ultimately led to the FHSAA's harsh penalty against Armwood.

Others will insist moms and dads have every right to put their sons in a position to positively impact their futures.

The issue remains so contentious that the Hillsborough School District continues to refine its policy regarding student-athlete transfers — a process that began in the wake of the Hawks' penalty.

Lost amid all the furor: those teachable moments that underscore the true value of football and sports.

I once heard a speech about emotional intelligence — learning how to deal with people from different cultures, controlling your emotions, resolving conflicts, embracing motivation — and realized that my two sons gained all those intangibles not from taking an "EQ test," but from playing football at Armwood.

The Hawks' lopsided loss Saturday ended the season on a sour note, but it may underscore the beginning of a new era — one in which Callahan can close the chapter on the 2011 controversy and build toward a state championship without the specter of recruiting allegations.

For Joseph Castelli, the school's new principal, 2013 always will mark the Hawks' return to state prominence and the launch of the school's Collegiate Academy, a new magnet program that already appears to be improving Armwood's underwhelming academic reputation.

Castelli longs to fuse the spirit-building success of the perennially dominant football program with the promise of the academy. He and Callahan can succeed as partners as long as they promote football's boys-to-men charm.

The rest — talented teams and state titles — will take care of itself. And even in defeat, there will be victories.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments
Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' pitching rotation for the weekend series against the Orioles could have a familiar look: Romo, Romo, Romo.Manager Kevin Cash said using veteran right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as the "opener" in all three upcoming g...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Willy Adames was so excited to be in the big leagues, even if was for just a three-day cameo callup. So thrilled to make a smashing debut with a homer on Tuesday. So proud to have his parents and sister fly in from the Dom...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘This looks bleak.’ Game 7 loss short circuits Lightning fans

‘This looks bleak.’ Game 7 loss short circuits Lightning fans

TAMPA — Nick Genovese was anxious.The 21-year-old from Land O’Lakes had come to Thunder Alley outside Amalie Arena hoping to see the Tampa Bay Lightning triumph over the Washington Capitals in Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference winner-take-all Game...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

TAMPA — The Lightning's dream season ended late Wednesday with the final horn, or, if you prefer, early in the second period of Game 5, when it scored its last goal of the Eastern Conference final.How about that? The team with the most regular-...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had its chances. Here are the best ones

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had its chances. Here are the best ones

TAMPA — Yanni Gourde said he will have to see a replay to know just how it got away, but even in a lopsided 4-0 loss like Wednesday night, he'll remember the puck in front of an empty net, and the missed opportunity that encapsulated a frustrat...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

In a way, the timing of RHP Jake Faria's oblique injury seemed manageable in that RHP Nathan Eovaldi is close to coming off the disabled list and can step in. But on the other hand, the Rays finally could have four regular starters. Imagine that.Ther...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

TAMPA — This one stings. And it will ache for a long time. Maybe forever in these parts.Another chance for a Stanley Cup. Another disappointment. As the Lightning skated off the ice after losing Wednesday night's Game 7 of the Eastern Conferenc...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

TAMPA — Forget Vegas.The Lightning have left the building.No more season. No more watch parties. No more anything.There is no way around it. Jon Cooper's team couldn't finish, not in Game 7 at home, not in the Eastern Conference final...
Updated: 2 hours ago