Thursday, October 27, 2011
Praise to the players
I was fortunate Friday night to be on the sideline for a fantastic football game.
You might have heard that Marshall Academy hosted Potts Camp in what is believed to be the first varsity football game ever in Marshall County between private and public schools.
The game had been marked on the calendar by lots of folks since the schools’ schedules were released.
Anticipation and emotions were high.
As a parent of one of the players involved and a journalist, it was an all-positive experience for me.
My son, Andy, a senior, plays for Marshall Academy. I covered the game Friday night as the editor of the county’s newspaper, but my heart was with my son and and his teammates on “Senior Night.” It was an emotional night for his mom and me. The past 17 and a half years have flown by.
At the same time, Andy has good friends from the other side. And I do, too.
He has played summer league baseball over the years with some of the Cardinals. They were friends then, and as far as I know, they’re still friends this week. I saw them shaking hands, smiling and saying “good game” following the final horn Friday night.
Connections are everywhere involving the two schools just 15 miles apart.
My family goes to church with some of the Potts Camp faithful.
Co-worker Linda Jones has two granddaughters attending Potts Camp.
Shane Stone, head coach at Potts Camp, graduated from MA. There are other examples of that involving the two schools.
Mike Bush, an assistant coach at Potts Camp, once coached at Marshall.
Some children who once went to Marshall now go to Potts Camp and vice versa.
Those type relationships help build a county rivalry.
I grew up in Hamilton, the county seat of Marion County, Ala. Just a few miles away in the same county is Winfield. The Aggies claim to hate the Pirates. The Pirates claim to hate the Aggies.
It was always the most talked about game of the season – and still is. Both towns want bragging rights, for at least a year.
Playing Winfield each year was extremely competitive but fun. The rivalry, in all sports, created some of my best high school memories.
The friendships and kinships from those two towns, like communities in Marshall County which play each other in sports, run deep.
But bottom line, it’s just a high school football game. It’s not the war in Iraq.
And bottom line, it’s for the players and about the players – not the adults.
This is their high school days – not ours.
More often than not, we should step aside and let them play the game and enjoy it.
That’s what I tried to accomplish last week with Andy. He has not played football since peewees. I didn’t want him to this year, but it was his choice. He wanted to be a part of the team and on the field with his friends in his last year of high school.
From my position on the sideline Friday, once the game kicked off and the hype ended, it was a great football game between two teams giving 110 percent.
Both the Cardinals and the Patriots left it all on the field. And bottom line – that’s all that matters. They’re the ones who have put in the work. They’re the ones who deserve the praise – win or lose.
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