To the kid who broke a window playing baseball in the street and didn't tell anyone, to the person in the parking lot who bumped into a car without leaving a note, to the person who didn't report a lost wallet they found in the street — pay attention.
Wednesday morning, Russell Christian Academy head football coach Nate Ballard set an example that reached far beyond the football field.
Upon learning that a former RCA player had played ineligibly during the Warriors' 2012-13 undefeated football season, he didn't hesitate in reaching for the phone.
With a heavy heart, he rechecked the findings and dialed up the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools to report the violation.
Ballard knew how much the state title meant to the Russell Christian community. The 13-0 season marked the first state championship the school had won in any sport.
He also knew that being an 8-man team in a small Mississippi town, the incident would be easy to sweep under the rug, especially given the Warriors switch to the Alabama Independent School Association prior to the 2013 season.
But, ultimately he knew that not reporting the violation would go against everything he preached to his athletes.
“That's not what we are about here,” Ballard said. “So we just did the right thing.”
In a time when recruiting and money scandals have taken over the sport, Ballard's example serves as shining reminder of how things should be handled.
Since, taking over as head coach for the Warriors in 2011, Ballard has done more than lead RCA to a 21-7 record. He has changed the culture of the program, teaching kids the value of hard work, discipline and most importantly doing things the right way.
By making the call when so many other coaches would have turned their head and took the title, Ballard backed up that method with his own actions.
For most of the players on the Warriors, football will end after their last high school game. The lessons they learn from their playing time, however, will last forever.
On Wednesday, Ballard taught a valuable lesson in honor.