Thursday, January 16, 2014
Love those rivalries
When it comes to high school basketball, it doesn’t get much better than county rivalries.
I was in attendance Friday night at H.W. Byers for the latest edition. The Lady Lions and Lions hosted Potts Camp.
As typical, the gymnasium was full and the emotions were high.
The players responded to the support of their fans, who were on their feet much of the night, yelling for their favorite teams.
The effort of the players, from both sides, was outstanding – filled with hustle and heart.
Both Potts Camp and Byers are now in the same district, but the games last week didn’t count as district games. Those will come January 28 at Potts Camp.
That edition of this county rivalry should be equally as intense.
While taking notes and taking photographs at Byers last Friday night, my mind took me back to my playing days – a long time ago.
I particularly remembered my own county rivalries while playing for the Hamilton, Ala., Aggies. The biggest of the county rivals was Winfield.
If we didn’t beat anyone else all season long, we wanted most of all to down the Pirates.
Other county rivals included the likes of Guin (Marion County High School), Hackleburg, Brilliant and Bear Creek (Phillips High School).
An annual event, that everyone countywide anticipated, was the Marion County Tournament. I’m pretty sure the tradition of the tournament continues today.
One of the highlights of my not-so-illustrious career was making the All-Marion County Tournament Team. I think I still have the certificate in a box in the attic.
My point is that county rival games create the best of memories. I didn’t really realize it at the time – too wrapped up in being a teenager.
But 35 years later, those memories are special.
They were rekindled even more a few weeks ago when my former high school coach called me when he learned of my mother’s death.
I had not talked to coach Freddie Burnett in a long time – maybe 20 years.
We talked about 30 minutes. The conversation was filled with lots of reminiscing about the “good ole days.”
We relived the 23-7 season when I was a senior, which at the time was the most wins in HHS history. That mark has since been eclipsed.
We talked about a lot of my teammates – particularly focusing on where they are now and what they’re doing.
He updated me on other former coaches, like L.E. Tyra, Richard Franks, Neal Childers and L.C. Fowler. I had seen a picture of them all together at some sort of reunion just a few weeks before Coach Burnett called.
Just about every time I return to Hamilton, I make it a point to ride by the high school. One of the exciting things going on there is construction of Hamilton Aggie Plaza, an exterior improvement project for both the middle and high schools, which are adjacent to one another.
I have tremendous pride in my alma mater.
And I know there’s a lot of pride displayed by the folks here in Marshall County, too – be it Holly High, Marshall Academy, Byers, Potts Camp or Byhalia.
Some of that pride and enthusiasm were on display in fine fashion Friday night at Byers.
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