Pros as role models? Those roles should be reversed

In case anyone needs a reminder that youth is not always wasted on the young, consider the following story out of the most rabid football state in the country.

(That would be Texas. Any state that spends tens of millions of dollars on high school football stadiums merits the title.)

As reported by the Houston Chronicle this fall, a junior varsity game between Woodlands and Katy Tompkins ended in the most heart-wrenching manner in which a game could end.

Woodlands, down 29-28, completed a pass to the Tompkins 3, as the clock ticked down to 12 seconds. A Tompkins defensive back stepped up to stop the receiver and went down as though he had hit a wall. He didn’t get up; in fact, he was motionless, bringing a hush to both sides of the field.

The injured player’s name and malady were not released under a state child privacy policy. But the injury was sufficiently dire to require that he be med-flighted to a hopsital.

After the long delay, during which both teams took knees and prayed, they lined up for the game’s final play. And the Woodlands quarterback took a knee one more time.

Woodlands coach David Colschen said the decision was not difficult. And his players all agreed.

"If we would have lined up and punched it into end zone, do we celebrate?" Colschen told the Chronicle. "And if they stop us, do they celebrate? Their teammate is about to be LifeFlighted. It just was the right thing to do."

Class really does still exist in sports, infamous appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.

TIME TRAVEL: Dec. 16, 1966 – "New England’s newest schoolboy hockey circuit, Twin State Hockey League, officially opened its initial season last night here at the JFK Memorial Coliseum with six teams participating in a 15-game jamboree," reported venerable New Hampshire scribe Greg Anduskevich.

"Manchester Mayor Roland S. Vallee was on hand to throw out the first puck for the opening faceoff between Nashua’s Purple Blades and the Memorial High Crusaders. Each of the six teams in the league – Nashua, Manchester Central, West and Memorial, and Lawrence and Lowell – competed in five games of five minutes each."

The Purple Blades were 1-1-3 in their mini-games. Nashua center Doug Whitney "earned the distinction of scoring the first goal for the TSHL record books."

SPEAKING OF HOCKEY: By nature hockey people are a particularly tenacious folk. These days, loyal citizens of the New Hampshre high school hockey community need to be tenaciously innovative.

With the state’s chronic dysfunction in its funding of public education, school boards typically wave the budget cleaver over athletic programs. Politically, nothing beats using extracurriculars as a means of getting arousing public attention, especially the sports that cost the most money to subsidize.

High school hockey has the added burden of competing with junior teams for talent.

Fortunately, booster clubs stubbornly keep many hockey teams on the ice. Considering the annual increase in the number of schools joining in co-op programs – that would include the new Nashua South-Pelham team – the work of maintaining high school hockey in the state will only intensify.

Also new this season is the BenJarvus Green-Ellis of New Hampshire hockey – Bishop Brady-Trinity-Manchester Memorial co-op club.

Try fitting that in a one-column headline.

AMBASSADOR VALENTINE? Several of Donald Trump’s choices for cabinet members and White House staff positions have come under fire, but New Englanders understand the worst of all would be the rumored consideration for Ambassador to Japan.

Bobby Valentine, failed Red Sox manager and one-time Director of Public Safety in Stamford, Conn., is an old Trump pal.

If Trump can find a way to filter Valentine’s non-stop gab, Bobby V. might be as competent an ambassador as anyone else.

Of course, if Trump can make Valentine clam up, he should be considered for a Nobel Prize.

Alan Greenwood can be reached at 594-1248, agreenwood or @Telegraph_ AlanG.