Friendship often transcends personal glory. Such was the case Tuesday night, November 12 at the Boothbay Region High School 2013 fall sports awards.
BRHS senior Jason Maddocks, who was named the most valuable player on the Seahawks football team by Coach Bryan Dionne, did the unexpected at the conclusion of the event.
After Coach Nick Scott's spotlight speech, Maddocks stepped up to the podium and began talking about a teammate. The teammate, senior Thomas Cornell, is blind in one eye and was born with only one functioning arm. Cornell has been a member of the football team for two years, serving mostly as manager, but he did practice with the team and played in a couple of junior varsity games this season.
Maddocks talked about how Cornell would keep up with the rest of the team when they ran sprints, how he has overcome his adversities, and that, “Tom never backs down from any challenges.”
Concluding his speech, Maddocks said, “Tom Cornell is the real most valuable player on this team and I want to give him this award.”
That brought thunderous applause and a few tears from those in attendance.
Cornell met Maddocks in front of the podium and gave him a big hug, much to the delight of audience members, who gave both a standing ovation.
On Thursday, Coach Dionne had this to say about the awards night special moment:
“Obviously, I think everyone was surprised to see Jason walk back up to the mic and give his MVP award to a guy he felt like deserved it even more than he did. If you had been to our practices this season and witnessed both giving everything they had week after week .... It really isn't that surprising.
“Jason has always been one of those guys that takes others under his wing. He is a true leader and understands what we preach in our program. We all may be a little rough around the edges and have our own challenges to overcome but at the end of the day we are all part of our football family.”
Guest speaker Coach Nick Scott
Coach Scott, who stepped away from coaching cross-country this season to assist his wife, Mandy, who was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer this past spring, started his speech by thanking the community for its support and donations to his family.
Scott went on to talk about how sports help develop positive traits, including a favorite quote from Bill Bowerman, head coach of the University of Oregon's track teams during the 1960s and 1970s.
Scott said that Bowerman would begin each season by sitting his team down and stating: “Running, one might say, is basically an absurd pastime upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd pastime, life.”
Scott related stories about his high school cross-country championship exploits and the BRHS championship cross-country teams of 2009 and 2013.
“Three stories, each detailing how dedication to sport can reinforce some of life's greatest lessons. In each … athletes persevered and against great odds, maintained a sense of optimism and calm even when the situation was dire. They carried on relentlessly all the way to the finish line, digging deep to uncover what they were truly capable of achieving.”
Before coaches handed out the individual plaques for most valuable, coaches award and most improved, athletic director Allan Crocker thanked the Booster Club for the marvelous banquet and he gave a brief rundown on the successes of the cross-country, football, girls soccer and field hockey teams.
Crocker then introduced and presented certificates to the following Mountain Valley Conference all-stars which are chosen by the league's coaches:
First team: Sofia Thayer, Morgan Crocker, Ben Scully, Joey Paolillo and Robert Campbell, cross-country; Antonio Maulolo, Jason Maddocks and Julian Aponte, football;
Second team: Hannah Morley, Matthew Burnham and Jack Hasch, cross-country;
Honorable mention: Brooke Alley and Tori Schmid, field hockey; Kate Friant, Kyle Alamo and Kyler Carty, cross-country; Tony Hammond, football.
The MVC coaches also voted Lauren Forgues as the Coach of the Year and Sophia Thayer as the Female Runner of the Year.