By Dency McClure
We arrived in Bryson, and the concession stand was opening as we parked. We were there very early so I was impressed. I get one shot at a concession stand, and that’s before the game. If they don’t open until the national anthem, then I miss it entirely. I’m sure you are thinking that’s absurd. Why do you miss it? Well, the line is usually too long during half-time for me to make it back for the beginning of the 3rd quarter, and they are always closed after the game. I must say the Bryson concession stand was impressive. They had cheese sticks, onion rings, cheese burgers, etc. already in the warmer ready to be taken before the game. Ohhhhh and I found out later when I saw people walking around with fluffy colorful clouds on sticks that they had cotton candy! Brace yourself, I will have to mention that again because, well, it’s cotton candy!
I went and found Coach Cumby. I had talked to him at a scrimmage but had totally forgotten to introduce myself. Today that was the first thing I did. He told me they had enjoyed the photos and article from the scrimmage where I had mentioned forgetting to introduce myself so we chuckled about that. He was in the middle of assisting with warmups so we didn’t chat long. As I was walking away, he yelled out for me to wait. He then ran up to me and said, “I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Trey Cumby.” We both laughed and parted ways still chuckling.
I then found Clint Miller. He was one of the first coaches I met when I started covering multiple schools. Corona or no Corona, he gave me a hug. He was obviously excited about his team. He told me he was in the perfect place to rebuild a program. He pointed out three kids in regular clothes on the field that were out due to injuries. He told me he had a good team and when he got them all back he’d have an even better team. I have to admit, I was a little surprised by what he was telling me as Rising Star has had a hard time the last few years and sometimes struggled to even field a team. Plus, they were the predicted 45 point underdog in this game.
I met a man that has a boy on the Forestburg team that takes photos. We had a great time talking shop. He showed me lots of great pictures he has taken. I quickly became aware that I no longer had a shop talk folder on the phone I got to replace mine that was stolen. Definitely need to update that. It’s always fun to see what other photographers are the most proud of. It was nice to make a friend on the sidelines and chat off and on during the game. The moon was exceptional at one point during the evening, and I took as many photos as I could of it at different stages. I caught him doing the same.
Before the game started, the line referee on the Forestburg side asked me what team I was shooting for, and I told him I was shooting both teams and also the referees. He lit up and told me he’d love some of himself in action and gave me his email address. I put it in notes on my phone and had him look at it to make sure I got it right. When I did, he asked me why the “M” at the end of dot com was on the next line. I told him it was just because my text size setting was big. He commented that I must be as blind as he was, and we both laughed.
The game quickly got under way, and I realized two of the referees were very experienced and the line judges were new. They did a good job working together, and the experienced guys took advantage of lots of teachable moments. I am so thankful we have referees and new ones. I recognize most of the referees now and that tells me they are solid six-man referees who like me, chose to be Six-man.
It became apparent very quickly that the predicted close out game was not going to happen. Rising Star was on fire and Forestburg had been stung with shock. At some points it was about a 10 point game, and it got very interesting. It was a great game! I was texting multiple friends telling them how good it was. One told me to stop texting him the score because he had tuned in to the broadcast. Coach Miller worked the clock like he owned the clock tower. Which cost Forestburg a penalty once because one of their players tired of it all and took his helmet off on the field getting a bit ahead of himself.
You hear all kinds of things on the sidelines. At one point I heard a coach tell his assistant “Ah, he’s an 11-man coach. No other reason he would have done that. Then we will do this and really mess him up.” There are definite differences in the game strategies. I’ve seen some past 11-man coaches break into Six-man and do very well. I’ve seen some come in thinking that because they coached 11-man that they are better than everyone else. That never goes over well. The general Six-man coach population calls that the 11-man mentality, which does cause them to be a little leery of coaches breaking into the game. No clue who may or may not have been a past 11-man guy on the other side.
I absolutely love to see Six-man coaches sitting down with new-to-the-game coaches and showing them plays. I remember watching a very good six-man coach draw up a play and hand the paper over to the new guy and say "Show me how to beat that." After a few moments, the new guy finally gave up and the Six-man coach happily showed him how. They had the best time. One thing I’ve learned about Six-man coaches is they love to share! All you have to do is ask. I’ve told a few new coaches who they needed to reach out to and they never let me down helping a new guy.
Did I mention Bryson has cotton candy in their concession stand? Why yes, I did. Seeing those fluffs bounding up and down round the stands was the best. I still love cotton candy but can you imagine how excited the kids must have been to find out the concession stand had it. Oh to be 10 again. I think I turn 10 again when I get my hands on some. Your soul just lights up a bit when you get your hands on some of that magical cloud puff of sweetness.
See you on the sidelines!
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