Our opinion: Bulldogs make memories

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Our schools are the heartbeat of our communities. So when students at all of our schools excel in the classroom, first and foremost, but also on stage, in the art room, in community service and in athletics, it's fitting to take note of that success, and the effort it took to get there.

The Burr and Burton Academy football team is just the latest example of local students proving what they can do when they dedicate their hearts and minds to the pursuit of a goal, and display the kind of grit that makes success possible.

The Bulldogs, having largely dominated Division 2 of Vermont high school football in recent years, were moved up to Division 1 for the 2019 season. No one knew how BBA would handle tougher competition from the state's largest enrollment high schools. The conventional wisdom says teams making that move often struggle at first.

The Bulldogs took on that challenge and defied the conventional wisdom, losing just one game in their first Division 1 regular season. They kept winning in the playoffs, advancing to the state championship game in Rutland last Saturday.

St. Johnsbury Academy, the only team to beat BBA during the regular season, was waiting for the Bulldogs in the state final. They were undefeated, and a worthy opponent for a title game.

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But BBA figured out a way to limit the effectiveness of St. Johnsbury's hard-to-tackle running backs. And the Bulldogs' high-powered offense saved its very best for last, lighting up the scoreboard for 47 points.

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In doing so, the Bulldogs made history. They became the first Vermont Division 2 football champion to move up to Division 1 and win that title the next year.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and anything worth doing well usually requires a struggle, and some resilience. That's true if you're learning physics, practicing the piano, mastering conversational French, or blocking the defender in front of you so your quarterback can throw another touchdown pass.

It's worth taking time to reinforce the positive lessons that come from such efforts.

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School feels like forever when you're in it. But the years truly do fly by the older you get, and you realize what seemed like a lifetime was but a few fleeting moments of your life. Before you know it, those moments are reduced to a few artifacts: pages in a yearbook, photos from a school trip, a newspaper clipping from Opening Night, a banner on a gymnasium wall.

But the memories of those experiences, good and not so good, are real lessons that last a lifetime. They're worth something if, later in life, they help you navigate a career challenge, start a business venture, create meaningful relationships, or deal with personal adversity.

Here's hoping that's the long-term value of memories from a chilly November night in Rutland, when the BBA Bulldogs became Vermont Division I state



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