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COLUMN - "This is when sports really matters"

By Andy Marchant - Jan. 24, 2020

*Publisher's note - "Andy Marchant is a talented and dedicated photographer, and community member, who loves the opportunity to capture Bear River High students at their best. He has witnessed great acts of kindness, moments of great athleticism and trying times for this community. Andy does this from behind the lens of his camera and during the day as a detective for the Tremonton Police Department. What Andy witnessed on Thursday, Jan. 23, at Logan High School was something I felt needed to be shared with the community. It's a reminder that there is good in the world and to 'Be the Good' in our community." - Cari Doutre, The Valley Headliner - - Owner/Publisher

"There is still good happening all around us when we look hard enough." - Andy Marchant

On Wednesday night, Jan. 23, I grabbed my camera gear and told my family I would see them in a few hours as I traveled to Logan High to photograph the Bear River boys’ basketball team and the Bear River cheerleaders.

I was focused on getting my camera gear ready and in position to photograph the first half of the basketball game when the starting lineups were announced. I was shocked to hear that Coach Reggie Shaw was not at the game. It was announced that he has suffered a severe injury and was not present at the game.

This is Coach Shaw’s first season as the head coach for Bear River boys’ basketball team and I have really enjoyed watching Coach Shaw this season. While I have never spoken to Coach Shaw, I have been really impressed with his sideline demeanor.

I love how Coach Shaw communicates with his players, coaching staff and the officials. From the outside looking in, his coaching style is a night and day difference from previous years. So, when I heard that Coach Shaw was not at the game, I was worried for him, and realized that his actions that I had observed had earned a level of loyalty and respect from me.

It was evident that Coach Shaw had impacted his players as well. I have watched the boys’ basketball team play hard, but that night they played with an edge that I have not seen them play with before. Following their win, I watched the team and the coaches celebrate, and it was obvious that they had more purpose in that game than just winning.

They were playing, and coaching for their coach who couldn’t be with them that night. It was awesome to learn that Coach Shaw had been able to watch his team win from the hospital from Bear River Live’s live streaming coverage.

Bear River High's head coach for the boys' basketball team, Reggie Shaw, underwent surgery to treat a brain tumor on Jan. 23, 2020. He is pictured here coaching a home game earlier this season. Photo by Andy Marchant Photography

I talked to a few people and learned more about Coach Shaw’s injury. I won’t share the exact details in an effort to respect those who shared with me, as well as Coach Shaw and his family. Coach Shaw had gone to the doctor for some general symptoms, something that you and I experience all the time. The outcome from the doctor’s visit included some tests results that indicated that immediate brain surgery was required. The good news is, it is predicted that Coach Shaw will have a speedy recovery after surgery. He could be back at the helm of the boys’ basketball program as soon as next week.

While a win for the Bears is always great. Following the game, it was obvious that the concern and support for Coach Shaw had transcended the game of basketball. Bear River Live’s post-game interview with Assistant Coach Ryan Sorensen turned emotional when Coach Shaw was brought up.

News articles posted by The Valley Headliner - and a social media post from me spread like wildfire through the community. From the responses of community members to these posts, and the spreading of the news, it is obvious that Coach Shaw has already achieved one thing that most coaches seek - he has inspired people to be better on and off the court.

The following day, I made my way to Logan High again, this time to photograph the Lady Bears take on the Grizzlies on the basketball court. I was touched when prior to the national anthem, the stadium announcer read a statement about Coach Shaw, and announced that Region 11 teams, including the Logan Grizzlies, were taking donations to help absorb growing medical and miscellaneous expenses.

I talked to some of the Logan High’s administrators and they told me that they were collecting donations at all the region games that evening. Sky View High and Green Canyon High had made the same announcement and put up the same donation table at their home gyms.

As soon as I got home, I created another social media post about how classy I felt it was that Logan High and other region schools had decided to step up and support Coach Shaw.

This is when sports really matter. It is fun to support a team and it is fun to watch athletes perform super-human tasks. I love catching those split-second moments and turning them into memories for people. But there is a moment when sports can transcend being an athletic contest.

It doesn’t happen often and sometimes you miss it when it happens, but sports can be a powerful vehicle to effect change and do great things in our world. And even with all the hype, and business associated with sports, the life lessons and experiences that come from sports are still there. That is what happened Thursday night.

When an opposing team is willing to take the time to display the logo of another team and take the time to prepare and announce something regarding another team, that is classy. And it was for a team that was in their building.

I wish I could have been there when the other schools expressed the same message, when there probably wasn’t a Bear River fan in the audience, or a Bear River team in the building. That is even more powerful to me. I have been extremely blessed to witness some wonderful moments of sportsmanship, sympathy and empathy as I have photographed sports.

We live in a world where it is hard to find the truth. It is hard to know what to believe when every single person’s opinion bears the same weight and volume that the truth carries.

The terrible things that happen in the world can make us want to stop listening and caring about what is happening around us, but there is still good happening all around us when we look hard enough. And because it is rare to find those pure and good things happening, I think it deserves recognition and sharing.

A donation jar for Coach Reggie Shaw was set up at Logan High School on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. Other schools in Region 11 followed this act of kindness. Photo by Andy Marchant Photography


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