Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Bob Bolton has been patrolling the sidelines covering the North Augusta High School football team for four years.
He serves as the sideline reporter for the team’s radio coverage. Along the way, he’s delivered countless high-fives and always has a smile on his face and some encouraging words for players and coaches.
After five back surgeries, however, he felt as though he had enough. He was ready to call it quits, but Head Coach Dan Pippin refused to let him quit.
On Wednesday morning, before the entire team, Bolton spoke from the heart to the players.
“It is an honor to be here, really and truly,” he said. “I’ll never forget the first year he was here, he was 1-10. I was sitting in the stands looking out, and no one would talk to him but his wife and his two children. I went and talked to him and told him to stay the course. We’ve gotten better every year, and we’ve come so close. There have been many times I have wanted to quit from the sidelines. Coach Pippin wouldn’t let me, and he won’t let you quit either. I’ll be here. I may be crawling, but, if I die, bury me right out there on the sidelines.”
Bolton personifies many of the traits that Pippin hopes to instill within his players, both athletically and personally.
“I will do my part as part of the radio team to recognize every one of you guys out there,” Bolton said. “A lot of times with offensive linemen and defensive linemen, people don’t know who you are. I’m going to make sure people know. Pippin has you on course, he has this school on course and this program on course. I don’t know how well you know him or the coaches, but I know them all really well. I promise that each and every one of them loves you. You may not think so while you’re out there – but trust me, they do.”
Pippin said that Bolton is a “big influence on the kids” simply from talking to them and putting them on the radio. He said that his players know that Bolton is in physical pain, and he still shows up and does what he can. It was obvious on Wednesday morning to see that Bolton’s words left an impact with a number of the players who came to him after the fact and thanked him for everything.
For his part, Bolton simply wants to pay back Pippin in any way he can. He describes Pippin as a man who “means a lot to him.”
“I consider him a dear friend,” Bolton said. “... He won’t let me quit, and he won’t let these guys quit, either. He’s a terrific coach, and he gets the most out of every player out there.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Alvernia University and currently attends Drexel University.