LURAY - Two years ago we were at the Luray High School graduation ceremony to see Rebecca receive her diploma and to hear Nathan Betcher give a speech. Young Mr. Betcher had spent 12 years of his life earning the right to give this speech, the one that goes with graduating #1 in your school.
The weather forecast was horrible and the ceremony was being held outdoors at the football field in Luray. This meant that the entire crowd was sitting on metal bleachers during a soon to happen Electrical storm. The ceremony was being hurried a long at an incredible pace but sadly was cut short before Nathan had the opportunity to give his speech. I know how hard Rebecca had worked while in High School to graduate fourth in that same class, so I had a true appreciation for how much effort Nathan had put into landing the top spot.
Life goes on and I am not sure that the non-speech didn't trouble me even more than it did Nathan. I even offered to have him read the speech later if it would help! To spend four years working that hard and then not get to finish... Nathan is now attending the Air Force Academy in Colorodo after a year at UVA. Congrats to this amazing young man...
Now fast forward to this past Sunday morning and the story of Brian Giles. Ryan Carroll, Brian and LHS Head Golf Coach Chris Mercer were set to head down to Farmville at 9:00 AM. The four of us got together for a few minutes to take some pics and to wish Brian well as the senior was making his fourth straight trip to the Region B Tournament.
In the five or ten minutes of conversation Coach Mercer mentioned to me that he was a bit concerned with the Tee Times of some of the golfers, including Brian Giles. Brian had been set to tee off in the morning but the schedule had been changed. Brian had been moved from 8:30 A.M. back to 1:40 P.M. and Coach was worried that his golfer would be able to finish the round.
This troubles me because now we find out it was a concern before the long trip to Farmville was even made. It wasn't that a fluke weather/storm had blown in at the last minute to interupt the play but a planned change in times due to a College tournament. I wished Brian well and the trio headed down to the Manor Resort Golf Club for the big event. Brian was to get to play a practice round before the competition on Sunday and then take his swings on Monday with the remainder of the individuals that were trying to qualify for State play.
I first heard about the sad ending when I read the coverage on Tuesday morning in the Northern Virginia Daily and again from Bill Meade at the Page News and Courier. Bill actually took the time to address the situation in his weekly column titled "In The Dark". The team competition was able to finish just this side of NIGHT but the individuals trying to make it were less fortunate.
Golfers like Brian were stuck out on the course between the 14TH and the 18TH holes. A meeting of the minds came up with the "Best Solution" of shortening that portion of the contest to the last completed hole (#13) and call it a day. Our golfer was left on the course with no means of finishing his round of golf. Four years of representing LHS and the town of Luray and in his final round of competition he is not allowed to finish?
This wouldn't of happened in one of the Big Three sports played in High School and it is sad it happened here. Could you imagine that all High School Football Playoff games were reverted back to the score with 4:00 remaining in the third quarter? I don't know if Brian would of qualified for State if he had been allowed to complete his round but I do know he should of been allowed to complete his round and found out.
Somebody owes Brian Giles and his fellow competitors five holes of competitive golf. Gather them all up and let them finish their round and see who moves forward. As a High School golfer from 25+ years ago it is easy to remember how little fan fare goes with playing the sport at that level so I applaud Bill Meade for being there in Farmville to cover the tourney and then for sticking up for young Brian.
It is safe to say that Bill Meade wasn't hoping to have the outcome changed with his words but
sometimes you just need to represent those who have been given the short end of the stick- or in this case the Golf Club. Kudos to Bill and this message to Brian- Give me a call and we will go back down there and play your five holes of Golf!
P.S.- Nathan, I am still here if you still have that speech laying around...