When it comes to making good football players, talent is important.
When it comes to making good people, character is crucial.
Hanford senior Aaron Neary has both, by the way. The two-way lineman was the anchor of the Falcons' offensive and defensive lines, but sadly his football season is over after he broke an ankle a few weeks back.
When I talked to Hanford coach Rob Oram tonight, I could sense the frustration of a losing campaign, but there was more to it than that. It's been a broken season for the Falcons, and nobody feels it more than Oram.
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"What has made this year so difficult is the character of our senior class. Our kids are awesome," he said. "It's so devastating to have such a great group of kids not experience success on the field. That's been heart-wrenching."
And it certainly hasn't been for lack of trying.
"We're playing so many young guys," Oram said. "I've never worked harder than I have this year.
"But I don't want anyone to pity us."
I told him I would be proud to send a son to play for him, and I meant it. He appears to have his priorities in order when it comes to helping forge the identities of his players. He'd rather build character than pile up points on a scoreboard.
It shows with guys like Cam Wagar. And it showed with Neary, who has reportedly committed to Eastern Washington.
"He's still at practice every day," Oram asked. "One day he asked me if it was OK if he traveled with the team on the bus. I told him, 'Yes, Aaron, we want you to be a part of this team.' "