Thursday, October 9, 2008
Daughter, father share overall titles
By BARRY BURLESON
Thirty-seven years ago Tommy Rodgers and his Marshall Academy teammates won an overall championship. Saturday, his daughter Traci and her teammates did the same.
“The look on my dad’s face when we won it - it was completely priceless,” Traci said.
“It means a lot more to me to see her do it,” Tommy said, “for her to experience something I did.”
Back in 1970-71, the MA boys basketball team won the overall title in the tournament played at Mississippi State University in Starkville. It was the first season for classifications in the Mississippi Private School Association. The Patriots, then in Class AAA, went undefeated.
Saturday at Mississippi College in Clinton, Marshall claimed the overall crown in girls softball – the first for the school in any sport since 1971. The Lady Patriots, now in Class AA, finished 32-5.
“For them to do what they did, it makes it even sweeter being a smaller school,” Tommy said.
Traci said the first thing she thought of after the final out in the championship win over Presbyterian Christian School was her dad.
“It’s really special for this to happen to both of us,” she said. “It brings back good memories for him.”
And Tommy had his old scrapbook out Sunday night - reliving those memories.
“At the time putting together a scrapbook didn’t mean anything to me,” he said. “I just wanted to play ball.
“But a friend of mine gave it (the scrapbook) to me for graduation. Now, it means everything to me.”
Traci is one of three seniors on the fast-pitch softball team. The others are Heather Tomlinson and Lauren Alexander.
She said she was excited about the overall championship, but she also has a great love for basketball, while Heather’s and Lauren’s primary sports focus is on softball.
“They’ve played so much more softball more than me; it’s so much more special to them,” Traci said. “For them to be able to attain their dream and me be a part of it, it’s a story I can’t explain.”
Tommy said the two overall championship teams from MA share a common trait - teamwork.
“For both, it was a team effort, not one or two people, and that’s what I like about both,” he said.
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