Sports is filled with those who are great athletes.
It also has many who fall into the category of being a great teammate.
But it's rather rare for one individual to be considered both a great athlete and a great teammate.
One such individual is Parkersburg South football senior Christian Whitlatch.
On the field, he is a two-way starter for the Patriots, manning the tight end and defensive end positions. Off the field, he's one of the most popular team-oriented players on the close-knit Patriots roster.
In Friday night's 42-28 win over Ripley, Whitlatch suffered a broken leg. One that required surgery.
Imagine his disappointment. To go from being a key member of a football team filled with his friends to recovering from a devastating injury.
Yet, Whitlatch is handling that injury the way he approaches everything else in life. While interviewing South coach Jon Bolen for a GameDay story on Monday, the coach received a text message, one he just had to share with me. It was Whitlatch expressing his regrets he couldn't be at practice Monday, but promised to be at Tuesday's practice.
It moved Bolen and caused him to talk about the young man.
He told me about how Whitlatch immediately accepted that talented athlete Wes Mitchem had joined the team and would be competing for the tight end slot. Knowing that Mitchem could help the Patriots, Whitlatch began working with Mitchem, sharing his knowledge and experience about the position, even though that might well mean Mitchem would cut into his playing time or even become the starter.
That's what being a teammate is all about.
Whitlatch was told if all went well he might recover by the end of the season. And that's what he is hoping to do.
Join his teammates for the playoffs, for which South should qualify. Until then, he will rehab his leg and continue to be the great teammate he always has been.
Injuries are part of sports, especially a collision sport like football. They remind us how fragile our bodies are no matter how much we build them up. We feel bad for the young men who have their seasons cut short.
Yet, life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I handle it.
We should all handle things as well as Whitlatch, who should serve as an inspiration to his teammates.
Football picks: One of my many memories of being the West Virginia University football beat writer during coach Don Nehlen's tenure was his stock answer anytime he was asked why he called a particular play.
Here it comes, I would say to myself, as Nehlen blurted out, "Thought it would work.''
It's a great answer. So great I've adopted it.
Anytime someone asks me why I picked a particular team in our weekly predictions, I simply reply, "Thought they would win.''