By Bobbie Brown
I headed Southeast from Lubbock making my way to Matador, Texas. The road from Floydada to Matador is straight initially but then twists into the canyons. My first glimpse of Matador is from up high above the town. The road winds down all the way into Matador. I arrived early and stopped at the Phillips 66 for a drink. Both people manning the cash register were extremely nice and wished me a wonderful day. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I passed Bob’s Oil Well. It’s a historical landmark. You can’t miss it!
I found my way to the school and the practice field. I pulled up under a shade tree in front of a house across from the field. I had some time to kill and sat reading a book. Not long after I pulled up, a car pulled out of the drive and approached. A very nice lady asked me if I was going to come up to the door. I replied, “No ma’am. I’m here to watch football practice.” She wished me well with a wide smile and went on her way.
I heard Coach Bigham before I saw him. He has a loud, booming voice. Perfect pitch for a football coach. I made my way across the street to shake his hand. I thanked him for having me and commented they had big shade trees down one side of the practice field. He offered to get me a chair, so I could sit and take pictures under them. Very nice offer. I declined telling him that I’m a little tougher than that. I’m not much of a sitter, but I sure did use the shade of those trees while I stood and squatted to take pictures!
Coach Bigham runs an extremely organized practice. Fundamentals, footwork, footwork, footwork, balance, more fundamentals, and motivation. Each of the 19 players were talking to each other the entire practice. At one point the chatter died down and Coach Bigham reminded them, “Don’t wait on someone else to motivate you! Everyone has to be a motivator!” And the volume of encouragement rose several decibels. I heard the same phrases throughout the entire practice. Each player would shout, “Let’s go now! Let’s go Baby! Let’s go Boys!” at different times but continuously. And mean it. You can hear it in the background of the interview with Coach Bigham. It really is a cool experience hearing them. I know I was motivated!
Motley County graduated many in 2017. Of the 19 on the team this year, 10 are freshmen. And they are athletic freshmen. I have no doubt they will play at a high level. It might take this group of Matadors a few games, but they won’t lay down. They’ll fight. They’ll have great footwork. They’ll use good fundamentals. They will be balanced. And they will be shouting at each other, “Let’s go Baby!”
It's sometimes hard to get over teenage perceptions as an adult. I’ve had to do that a lot as Texas 1A Fan. Motley County was one of the teams I just hated to play back in the day. I’m sure they felt the same way. I am open-minded enough to pay attention and slough off crazy teenage perceptions, and that’s exactly what happened today. Everyone I encountered in Matador was extremely polite and welcoming. I really enjoyed my time there.