The Golden Spirit Stick
By Johnna Reynolds
What ever happened to the Golden Spirit Stick award, you might ask? It’s been absolutely crazy! From trying to match up schedules, to crazy snow storms then the ‘Rona and quarantine. It’s been difficult to catch up with the winners!
This year two squads were selected that do amazing work during the game. They are constantly cheering on their team. I have enjoyed watching them. The smiles on their faces says it all! Congratulations to the Sanderson Cheerleaders and to the Ropes Cheerleaders!
I can hardly wait for football season to start. I look forward to seeing all of you cheer on your teams.
Until we meet again, I leave you with the cheer song I learned at camp many years ago. Friends we are and friends we’ll always be. Together we will cheer so faithfully. Cheerleader we’ll always be, ‘til we meet again!
There is No Greater Honor
By Dency McClure
There is no greater honor for me as a photographer than to see my photos being used and enjoyed by others. When I first started taking pictures I would get excited to see them used as screen savers on phones and computers or on social media as profile pictures. Oh sure I enjoy being told that people admire my work. I mean who doesn’t like being appreciated. However, the greatest reward is seeing them be enjoyed by others.
I recently received a request for a written release so a printer would agree to print some of my work. I knew they were going to be used for something to honor seniors. Today on Facebook I saw the finished product. I was so honored and I have to admit I got a bit emotional. What a treat to see that some of my work had been used to showcase some great high school memories for some fantastic 1A kids.
Since I mostly shoot school age kids, I was quite shocked and taken a back the first time I received a request for some of my pictures to be used at a funeral. How could a child have died? I never, ever imagined that any of my photos would be used at a funeral. Yet here I was being asked for just such a thing. At first, I started to question what I was doing. Not sure why, but I did. I didn’t like the idea of my work being part of such a sad time. Then I realized that my pictures hadn’t caused the tragedy or the sadness. But that I had captured a moment in time that was cherished by the family and to be remembered.
To all the small 1A communities, there is no greater honor than to capture on film some of your life’s most cherished moments. For you to be able to view them with your own eyes and know they truly did exist in more than just your heart and mind. Thank you for allowing me into your lives to capture some of those moments.
Who Am I?
By Stephen Reynolds
Good morning! Looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day.
Oh, sorry. I’ll bet you’re wondering who I am. I live on school property in a small West Texas town called Jayton, Texas. My name is…
Well, I’ve decided to see if you can figure out who I am. Most of my days throughout the year can be boring. I guess it’s how each person perceives their day as to how you would describe it. Some say boring or I could say relaxing. December through February are actually extremely lonely. I don’t get to see anybody except the occasional stray dog or cat that happens to walk by. Most of the time they don’t have time to stop and visit. They’re just passing through since they know they’re not supposed to be here. And there is no audience to yell at them to leave. Where’s the fun in that?
It can get very cold that time of year without a coat. Hey, it’s wintertime. How would you feel with 6-8 inches of snow on top of you and there was nothing you could do about it? You just have to sit there and take it. Then wait for the snow to melt. March through May is much better. I get to see a lot of kids running back and forth. Some sit on top of me to change shoes. Others even lay down on top of me for a short nap. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the attention. But it’s a lot better before the race instead of after with all that sweat and stink.
Also, in the spring the weather is much nicer. I even get a shower every now and then. I do love that nice clean feeling, and it’s nice to get the ‘ol toupee shined up. That’s right. A toupee. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s much easier to keep. No more haircuts. No more color jobs. Wash and go. That’s the life.
Oh, did I mention I have some cousins in other towns that have not gone the toupee route? Still all natural. And they have to wait for a haircut since they can’t do it themselves. And they only get a good color job in the fall. Shoot, my granddad didn’t even get a color job. All he got was a buzz cut right down to the roots.
Excuse me just a minute.
“HEY! GET OUT OF HERE.”
It’s the town stray. We call him Mutt.
“HEY MUTT! I SAID GET OUT OF HERE. WHAT? NO! NO! NO! YOU CAN’T DO THAT HERE. I DON’T CARE IF YOUR BUDDIES
TOLD YOU THIS WAS A NEW PORTA-POTY. HOW RUDE! GET OUT OF HERE!”
Sorry about that. They think they can just come over here and do their business anywhere they want. Sometimes right on top of me. I just can’t have that. Now where were we… ah summertime. Back to some lonely days with a few drifting strangers that come by. I like summertime but it does get hot this close to the ground. Actually, the toupee makes it even hotter. I suffer through it because I know what’s right around the corner. The fall and the lights on Friday night. The time of year I live for. But first, there is this thing called the Gridiron Classic the last weekend in August. Sure, it’s blistering hot. But you can’t believe how many people I get see in those three days. And all the players and coaches running by. Even with the heat, it’s really something special.
Actually, it’s an exhausting three days with no rest at. But football is what I live for. You should come by during the Gridiron sometime and say hi. I really like meeting new folks. Now on to September through November.
There is something special about the brisk fall air under the lights. I get to see a lot of old friends on Friday nights. Sure, I see people other times of the year, but this is the time of year I get to participate on a weekly basis in the sport I love Six-Man Football. My Friday nights start with watching the home team warm up. Some players jump me, some straddle me, some even step on me. But all are near. I can hear the coaches giving last minute instructions. Some of the seniors helping the under-classmen with toe touches. Seriously fellows, how tough can a toe touch be? Come on guys, get serious and get it right.
I even get to see the cheerleaders and the band. You would not believe the stories I get to hear during pregame. Players talking about which cheerleader is the cutest? Cheerleaders talking about which player is the coolest? Coaches and administrators telling some wild stories. Sorry guys, I’m not allowed to tell. Yes, that’s right. I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the school. I guess you will just have to let your mind run wild about the stories I’ve heard.
Now back to the game. The excitement builds during the coin flip. Next the shaking of hands at midfield. The fans cheering for their team. And finally, the kickoff. The moment when I finally get to participate in the game. I wait patiently. Sometimes the players are near and other times far away. But I’m a happy dude. I get to be part of a Six-man football game. Most games a few of the players eventually get really close. I can even hear them breathe as they pause for a minute. Sometimes they go by so fast I can barely see them. Oh, what speed some of the youngsters have. On a rare occasion, I just have to watch the game from a distance. It’s almost like I have some sort of sickness or disease like Coronavirus. No one comes near me. I’m glad that doesn’t happen very often. Other times they get within inches of me. Close enough to drip sweat and sometimes even blood on me. That’s ok with me. It’s Friday night under the lights. No where else I’d rather be.
Even though the fans are yelling and screaming, no one truly understands the excitement I get to feel. That rush of adrenaline as the players get close. Then the burst of excitement when a player runs over me, dives over me, jumps over me, and even lands right on top of me. It’s indescribable. Oh, did I mention that I have a brother on the other end of the football field. Yes, that’s right. I’m the south goal line at Jaybird Stadium in Jayton, Texas. Nice to meet you.
My First Love
By Boo Boo Bear
It’s hard to forget certain memories in life; some are tragic and some are of joy. Within a lifetime, sports will push the entire gamut of emotion in each of us in it’s own unique way. However heartbreaking sports may be at times, young men and women are drawn to compete over and over again. They will receive little warning of its pain. But, instead with full hearts, a mind full of family lore, and an unbreakable spirit, each will set out to create his or her own story.
My love of sports came to me on a Friday in the month of September, 1980. I was a five years old with almost no understanding of football or organized sports in general. However I did know feeling and emotion. What I remember of my first encounter of football is my Kindergarten teacher announcing we would have special guests coming in that day. I had no idea that on this day, my world would soon change. Suddenly other kids were talking about a Pepper Ally? A couple kids had been to one, explaining that you scream and they play music for the Football Players!
I smile writing this because although I am 44 years of age, to this day, I call a Pep Rally a Pepper Ally. Destiny knocks upon your door a few times throughout a lifetime, and on this day, came a bang on the classroom door! A Red Devil cape, pitchfork, and all came running into the room! It was a dark figure at first with the suns light behind it. It soon exploded in full color before our young eyes. Immediately, I felt fear, and I remember a couple kids crying, while other kids high-fived that darn Devil. Then like Knights in shinning armor entering a castle, I saw in line the Rankin Red Devil Football Players at least in my mind marching into the room. They were huge! All their hair styles were like either Bo or Luke Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard. Each one had on a maroon and white jersey, blue jeans, and boots. They came around desk to desk signing a ribbon for each of us. The Football Players talked to us and the Cheerleaders did a cheer, we screamed and whooped uncontrollably! For the rest of the day we talked in excitement of the upcoming football game, of which I knew nothing about. But was now talking as if I did.
Back in class I was lost in a day dream where the Football Players came back. They told me I was strong and told my teacher I could go outside and play anytime I wanted to. I envisioned them bringing me a jersey that I could wear. A real world voice broke the silence of my day dream when Mrs. King stood and spoke. She explained the rules of the Pepper Ally. We lined up in alphabetical order, and I was first! When we walked out, Mrs King was behind the other class. I followed her as we marched along in a single file line. The sun was bright, light was reflecting from all the cars parked everywhere; people and kids seemed to be in a rush. We were now outside the gym, and Mrs. King was saying stay together! I could hear the band playing with that drum banging, it was amazing! Then I felt it, as we entered the gym! Well let me tell you, at five years old, I felt the very air put into me.
A wall of sound, color, and spirit hit me directly in my chest, and filled my very soul. I could feel the bass drum in my heart, the rhythm gave me goosebumps, and the very air around us was electric. We made our way into the bleachers and sat in a row as a class. The other grades would fill the seats behind us. Suddenly it all stopped, the last of the kids stopped talking, and a kind of murmur silence set in. Then just as quickly, the room tore open with noise! On the gym floor from right to left entered the Football players jogging into place, settling into the form of a giant “L” on the far left of the Gym floor. The band, fans, cheerleaders, and students cheered and clapped along although I did not realize it at the time, the unison of clapping to the fight song blew me away! Noises echoed off the four walls, the banners and vividness of the gym had me hooked I must have sat there in place frozen with zeal, because it was over way to quickly.
Yes, I remember when I fell in love with sports. So to the brave youth who now embark on each of your sports journeys, may you earn that first broken heart with sweat and grit. Yet always remember to smile and celebrate in all the little and great victories that are yet to come.
A word of advice. At some point take the time to research The Laurel Crown and the phrase Memento Mori.
We all have a story... a funny story or a serious story. This space is for those stories that make us laugh or cry or feel motivated.