It’s a great day to be a Burro!

Guest Editorial

It’s a great day to be a Burro!By DIANA REGIER

News Review Correspondent

As someone who recently returned to Ridgecrest, many of the current residents do not know me and they probably have no knowledge of my family. But my roots go deep. As a daughter and granddaughter of the Tharp family, there is a long history in Ridgecrest and the Indian Wells Valley. As the wife of a retired Navy submariner, my affiliation with the Navy was extended after leaving the shadow of the mountains and China Lake. As a Burroughs alumna from the mid ’70s, I have and will always be a Burro and wear with pride the green, white, and black.

Today, it is just good to be in Ridgecrest and to be part of what just took place in this community because of a group of high school student athletes who showed the nation what is good and worth fighting for.

Earlier this fall, I attended my first Burros game in several decades when the team was pitted against the strong favorite, Rancho Verde. I had gone to see the new concession stand and view the improvements on the Burroughs campus, as well as take in a bit of football. I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled! It was great to watch as both offense and defense made amazing plays, but most importantly, they did it by working together as a team. Burroughs, the underdog, played great ball and soundly defeated their opponents.

Then, there was the Homecoming Game and the video of the team’s patriotic display of unity that went viral. The team, walking into the stadium carrying flags … the entire team… with the music of Lee Greenwood, “God Bless the USA” blaring over the speakers. “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free…” What an inspiration to witness these young people lead the way and show their patriotism to their peers, their community and their nation when so many on a more public platform have been doing just the opposite. A small town and a high school football team with a message worth sharing and shouting out to the world.

The next opportunity I had to witness this team and the community support they inspired was the semi-final game against the Mayfair Monsoons in Lakewood on Friday, Nov. 24. Burroughs was the visiting team. Ridgecrest friends and family came by car and bus and filled the visitor stands and watched their team play spectacularly against the odds. Again, the team showed unity and strength of character. The team was on the field for the national anthem, they kneeled for prayer and words of inspiration before the game and they finished at centerfield, kneeling in prayer and staying for coaches comments.

Last Thursday, the night before the championship game, a bonfire was planned at the high school. A community spirit rally! Amazing! A bonfire on the Burroughs campus — something not seen since the 1970s. Brock Mather, a team captain and No. 55, captured the spirit of the night with his words, “Wow, absolutely incredible…nothing better than knowing that your town and community has your back…it takes a village to raise a child, what else is there to say…this is a village raising children… couldn’t thank you more for everything you do for us. Thank you.” The support from the community members, businesses and public officials was incredible to see.

Finally, Friday night, the CIF Southern Section Division 9 championship football game, hosted for the first time in Sherman E. Burroughs High School History on our home field. The Burroughs Burros and Thomas Aquinas Falcons would square off for the final game of an extended season of play. Extra bleachers were brought in for the fans of both teams. The “B” on B Mountain was lit up under the Christmas star. The team again walked into the stadium and down on the field by twos, holding hands, each one holding an American flag to the words, “I’m proud to be an American.” Not even when the sound system suddenly quit could the spirit and teamwork be dampened. The Burros band covered and played “The Star-Spangled Banner” while a large flag was raised in the end zone. The Ridgecrest fans came and filled the stadium and they cheered their team on through the final seconds of the game.

While the score at the end of the game did not reflect the hopes of the team and community, it was a game, an event and a season to be proud to witness. It brought tears to the eyes of the fans, the team and the coaches. Kneeling in prayer at centerfield at the end of the game, team captain, Brock Mather led the team in prayer. His words gave voice to the spirit of this team and this season, “…Thank you for watching over us…Pray that you will lift our heads up…Win or lose, we give all the glory to God.”

Much has been said in press coverage and award ceremonies about this team and this season — how they have played together since their youth football days. The coaching staff under Head Coach Todd Mather, who made commitments to these children in the youth league and continued with them through the high school level. The pride in having a female kicker who was also part of the homecoming court this year — another Burroughs first. The team’s donated hours to the community in clean up efforts. It all speaks to giving and working; giving to others, giving back, and working together as a team and a community.

These coaches and parents taught and inspired this team to do something bigger — some whole that would be greater than the sum of our small desert community of Ridgecrest. Something that would be bigger than the effort of one individual. Something that would give a strong voice and a right message to the team motto: One Team One Town. Whether it was in their football play, their extra-curricular activities, at school or in the community they learned to think beyond themselves and they shared this with their community and even the nation.

Let us not quickly forget these life lessons. May we continue to be inspired by the lessons and examples taught by a team that aimed high and achieved great heights. May Ridgecrest as a community remain unified to continue inspiring others in our community as well as being a loud voice in our nation.

It’s a great day to be a Burro! And great to live in Ridgecrest.

Story First Published: 2017-12-05