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Southeast Bulloch inducts four into Hall of Fame

Since moving to Bulloch County I’ve been to Southeast Bulloch High School some three dozen times it feels like. The drive out to Brooklet never really gets old -- once you get past the hubbub on North Main the rest of the route is a lot of undisturbed farmland as you head past the lake right towards Fred Shaver Field.
    Whether it was for a basketball game or volleyball match I always slowed my walk to read the plaques, trophies and awards the line the front entrance of SEB. Within a span of about 50 feet you can capture a vivid snapshot of the school’s athletic history, but that’s not what makes the display unique.
    Most if not all high schools have a trophy case of some kind. But as you head into the front entrance of the main gym the plaques continue on down the wall until it stops. The plaques read “Paula Palmer, hall of fame class of 2017” — or something to that iteration. The wall is obviously a wall of fame used to commemorate the SEB Athletic Hall of Fame, something not every high school has.
    My generation, which I guess can hesitantly be lumped in with the current one in high school, has trouble living in the moment. We’ve grown up with recency bias —whatever happened most recently is the best thing that’s ever happened. It’s an easy position to take because you never have to add historical context or perspective.
    Even in the age of YouTube where anyone can watch any game from five years ago or fifty years ago, we still have trouble with adding a historical context to our daily discussion/debate. Never more did this ring true just last week when I was sitting the baseball press box in Brooklet.
    It’s not abnormal of me to be in press boxes with a bunch of high schoolers gabbing about the topical sports of the day while they halfheartedly run the scoreboard. The minute I expose my identity as a sports writer these kids all start with the “Is Lebron better than Jordan?” or “Is Odell the best in the league” debate. I don’t mind sharing my two cents, but I’m constantly disturbed by the lack of perspective some of these high schoolers have.
    One unnamed young man told me “Blake Griffin is the best in-game dunker ever, no arguments about it.” He wouldn’t hear anything about the Vince Carter’s, Dominique Wilkins’ and Dr. J’s of the world. A quick YouTube search could have given this young man a 15 minute history lesson as to why he should try and appreciate an older class of talent.
    But that’s easy to do in professional sports and college sports. Everything was on TV at some point, and some troll out there will eventually post visual proof of someone’s greatness.You don’t think Charles Barkley was great? Google his highlight tapes.
    It’s not so simple when it comes to high school sports.
    Outside of football, we don’t have a lot of proof when it comes to providing historical perspective. Video was scarce, and many high schools never had the technology to turn film into dvd’s or .mpg’s. So in order for the history to keep on living, it takes an effort by those involved with the school to make sure it’s preserved.
    And I say that knowing it’s much harder than a gasbag sitting at a table spewing his thoughts on paper. But history is not concrete like a trophy or a ribbon — it’s abstract like a memory. It fleets if it’s not taken care off. It can outright disappear if no ones cares enough.
    So it says a lot to me — as someone who is clearly a dork when it comes to history — that Southeast Bulloch has made a 23-year effort to make sure history is preserved and respected through the people who’ve made that athletic program great.
    I’ve been able to observe up close and get personal with all four high schools in the county, which includes the fan bases made up by parents, coaches, administrators and former players. I have no doubt you all care about your programs because it shows in attendance and the angry voice mails I get when I can’t get around to every game.
    Because of the efforts of the administration at Southeast Bulloch, every quarterback who plays at Southeast Bulloch has to have some kind of historical perspective when knowing his place in program history. 
    “I’m the best quarterback to ever come through Brooklet,” he’ll say.
    “Yeah you might be good, but are you Greg Newman good?” his teammate will respond. “You didn’t see the plaques out by the gym? He was the QB on the 1974 state title team. You have to at least top that if you want to be the greatest.”
    I would encourage all the high schools in Bulloch County and beyond to start making an effort to preserving their history. BA had their first Hall-of-Fame class inducted this past fall, if Statesboro has one I’m unaware of it and Portal at the very least has contacted SEB about learning how to put on a Hall of Fame banquet.
    If there’s one thing I learned about SEB from being in that banquet, it’s that they cared about making sure the history of their sports will not just be preserved, they’ll be cherished as well. Each speech made by the four inductees — Newman, Palmer, Scott Starling and Kellie Dickerson — was a showcase of how proud those four individuals were to be apart of the school and how appreciative they were to be recognized as a member of the Hall of Fame. 
    It’s a lesson every high school athlete can learn from. It’s hard to appreciate the simplicity of high school while you’re there. All you can think about is the unrestricted freedom that will be obtained when they graduate — creating a tunnel vision that keeps younger people from appreciating just how simple and carefree their life is at 16 years old.
    Give these 16 and 17-year olds a chance to learn something about their school and give them something to stride towards. Whether or not they want to learn anything is up to the teenager, but at least we — this history appreciators of the world — gave them a chance to strive and maybe become a Hall-of-Famer himself. 
    So with kudos to SEB, let’s all try and preserve the great athletic history of Bulloch County.