Tarboro football receives championship rings
By PATRICK MASON
Monday, March 5, 2018
The moment arrived, nearly three months after the final snap.
The Tarboro High football team received their championship rings on Monday night during a ceremony at Edgecombe Community College attended by players, coach and family members. The event celebrated the Vikings 1-AA championship this past fall, which was secured with a 32-7 victory over Mount Airy on Dec. 9.
It was the fifth state title in program history, and this was a good a reason as any to celebrate.
Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock, who has been a part of four of these ceremonies, said his favorite part is watching his players’ faces after they unbox their ring. He likens the experience to gift giving around Christmas time.
“Leading up to this I’m most excited to say ‘one, two, three’ and watch as these kids open these boxes and see these absolutely beautiful rings,” the longtime coach said. “It’s almost like giving a nice gift for children at Christmas, and you can’t wait for them to open it up to see their reaction. That’s how I am today. I’m really excited for these boys to enjoy that ring on their fingers.
Craddock, who designed the rings, 79 in all, said that the ability to host such an event and provide the rings was made possible by a host of generous donors in the community, a close-knit group of Tarboro football fans that have had much to celebrate over the years.
The team held an awards banquet earlier in the year to officially wrap up the season and hand out team awards. There, more time was spent reflecting on the season and talking about specific moments or games. Craddock took time to speak about each player during a banquet that lasted around two hours. That 15-0 season, including six shutouts, was re-lived in detail.
On Monday, the focus was more about gathering the team — players and coaches — together for likely one final time to share fun stories and memories.
“Tonight is an absolute celebration,” Craddock said. “The last thing I’ll tell these guys is that life is about the memories you make. The rings will get lost or will lose their color, and the T-shirts will become dust cloths.
“But what never leaves is the memories you put in the mind and the heart, and tonight is, other than winning a title, is the best feeling.”