Championships do not happen every day, said Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton.
They are not created by happenstance, they are not solely a product of pure talent or pure luck, maybe a combination of the two with numerous other ingredients in the mix.
But, as it would happen, Gulf County is home to not just one, but two state titles, won roughly a week apart a 100 or so miles apart in the spring.
“They are very special,” Norton said, noting no other county or community in Florida’s Panhandle is home to even one, let alone two, state championship trophies.
“They are very rare.”
So, when they are won, time for a celebration and some bling, in this case of Gulf County teams, courtesy of Centennial Bank.
The Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School baseball team handled the celebration part last Thursday and Friday and the bank provided the bling in the form of a ring for every player and coach as well as two very special fans.
“This is something they will treasure 30 years from now,” said Athletic Director Greg Jordan.
Coach Ashley Summerlin set a mighty high bar in his first months the school, Norton noted.
Summerlin arrived in January, replacing a coach who was a replacement for current Principal Josh Dailey as he moved into administration, and had mere weeks to even get acquainted with his players.
“They are great kids, raised right,” Summerlin said.
And despite midseason struggles, including a six-game losing streak, the Tiger Sharks got red hot at the end of the season and into the playoffs, winning a weather-delayed state championship game over Madison County.
The championship, Dailey noted, was the product not only of the team and student body, but a community.
Summerlin personally handed out each ring, including several to seniors who graduated in May.
Then it was time to show off a bit before the rings went back in the box.