2017-11-01 / Editorials

Mike Reese

“I was just thinking”

My normal deadline to have my column e-mailed in to the paper is Friday morning. I asked for a Monday extension. If you haven’t heard there was a big football game in town on Friday night. I wanted to go to the game and let a column evolve from what I saw. What I had in mind was that we might win the game and the words would flow like cane syrup on biscuits, through my pen onto a blank page. This is what happened.

The game was the biggest game in decades to be played at our stadium. The buzz around the town was palpable, like a nest of wasps which were about to blast onto an intruder, that vibrating buzz that tells your feet to prepare to move, quickly. Highway signs were specially made to direct our visitors to their parking area. Big portable lights were rented to help them park. Our senior athletes, with their parents, were recognized prior to the game. The weather and the temperature were football perfect. Extra hot dogs and hamburgers, candy, and popcorn were readied for the crowd. Our EMS station got into the spirit with a car specially decorated encouraging the Eagles. Our cheerleaders made a huge banner for the team to rip through as they ran onto the field, with some players proudly hoisting American flags as they ran. The National Anthem was played by our band. No Anthem kneelers on Roy Head Field. He wouldn’t have allowed that.

The Bulldogs brought a big crowd. They were buzzing too. Their boys have played in too many games to count where the stakes were high, bragging rights games like this one, playoff games, region championship games, state championship games on the line. We’re new at this level, but we did all we could to make the Bulldogs and their fans feel welcomed to “Our House”. This was Friday Night Lights at its best. Football, God, our Flag, family, next door neighbor teams ready to battle. No one sat down. To see some of our guys carrying the Red, White, and Blue onto the field put many lumps in many throats. Tonight we didn’t need to “Make America Great Again”. Black, White, and Hispanic all cheering as one America. And then we were assaulted and battered, 39-12.

But sometimes you just have to say, “Yep, we got our tails waxed. We gave it our best. The other guys were better tonight.” Okay, now what? My favorite football coach of all time is Erk Russell, who said after a big GSU loss that he’d always “learned more from losing than winning.” He said it was easy to get back to practice after you’d won, but after a loss it was like “going to a root canal appointment” whenever you had to walk again onto the field for another practice.

Our Eagles played hard, our coaches coached hard, our cheerleaders cheered hard. And they still live to play a play-off game this Friday night. Let’s be there to show the boys that they’re still our team, our Eagles.

Now, I’ve got to go to the hardware store to take a sign down. I can learn from losing too.

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