We pulled up to the school two hours before kick-off with our 8th grade grandson Haydin in tow. We knew immediately that something exciting was happening because there were already lots of cars and a food truck. It was their bi-annual all school reunion. We quickly spotted Coach Hughes and his son, the other Coach Hughes. It was already 100 degrees! I decided to stay in the Jeep a little longer with the AC running while Michael got out to get the lay of the land.
Soon the Blanket Tigers arrived in a little bus. This started many conversations with our grandson about Six-man schools. He attends a 2A school, and while it’s still small, it’s a different world. He was shocked the entire team was on the little bus. We got out of the Jeep to visit with the coaches. Some of the Blanket boys were excited to see the Jeep and ran over to take photos with it. Haydin looked at me and asked what they were doing. He was in total shock. I laughed and explained that some Marfa players had taken photos with my first Jeep, and I posted them on Instagram, which started the pictures with the Jeep.
I have always loved the water tower being right next to the field in Moran. It makes a bold, small town statement. When we gave the coaches their shirts, I pointed out to Coach Hughes why I had asked him for a photo of their field. We had included a water tower in the shirt design this year. Before we finalized it, I had thought we might do something like the Moran field.
Michael and I walked over to the gym to use the restrooms. We decided to walk on into the gym to look around. I immediately remembered being in that gym when I was in high school. I grew up not so far away in Newcastle. Lots of good memories flooded back to me. I chuckled at the sign on the ice machine stating children were not allowed in it. It didn’t say adults weren’t, so I thought about climbing in it. I’m so over this heat!
Haydin and I hung out in the nice cool press box while we waited for the game to start. Michael got all set up and was ready to broadcast. Haydin immediately noticed there wasn’t a 50 yard line on the field. We talked about the differences between 11-man and Six-man. He was fascinated and asked a few questions. I was so glad he had gotten to come with us so we could share our love of the game and our hobby of covering the games.
About 30 minutes before kick-off, I headed down the press box stairs to get my camera equipment. A man I’d seen working to attach something to the back of the press box was still diligently working. He had started with a tall lean-to ladder and then backed his truck up and put a different ladder in it. He was now making headway. I stopped for a moment and studied what he had hung up so far. I asked him if he was hanging up the pieces to make a GIANT mum. He told me he was. I responded with, “Of course, you are. This is Texas!” We both chuckled.
More people were enjoying taking pictures with the Jeep. As I got my equipment out, I realized Coach Cherry’s family was taking pictures with it. I love having something people enjoy interacting with. The sun was bright and their little boy was having a hard time looking at the camera. I don’t blame him one bit. It was hot and bright!
I found my spot on the sidelines and got prepped for the game. While I waited the last few minutes, I stood in the little shade with Moran folks avoiding the sun. A man told me my Jeep was getting lots of attention. We chatted about that and then he showed me a picture on his phone of a Jeep Gladiator like mine with a flatbed on the back. I have to say it was pretty badass. Can I say that here? I just did! A few moments later he popped back around the corner and offered me a lawn chair to enjoy in the shade before the game started.
I enjoyed the chair and the shade while I listened and watched people joyously greet each other and visit. I especially enjoyed the Aggie joke about how to make a duck call out of a coke can tab. I had noticed two dogs enjoying the shade under the home bleachers when we arrived. The little one came over to our shade and I got it to come to me and let me pet it. It was a very sweet little dog. After a bit, it laid down beside me. I was a bit worried it might follow me onto the field later, but it did not. However, the larger dog did join in the game for a bit. Is it truly Six-man if a dog doesn’t join the game? Michael told me later he mentioned the dog in the game on the broadcast and that it had watered the end zone. Haydin thought that was a sly way of saying what really happened.
The game festivities started with the Moran boys riding onto the back of the end zone in a cattle trailer. They busted out of the trailer, flags and all, and through a run through sign onto the sideline. I must say I have seen lots of things in my years enjoying Six-man, but I have NEVER seen that. We were then treated to the national anthem sung live by Jeff Martin. He has a song out called Six-man Football Town. If you haven’t heard it, you can find it on YouTube. Haydin told me he sang loudly and filled the press box impressively with his voice.
Once the game kicked off, I enjoyed listening to the fence hangers reminiscing about their football days and seasons past. They joked around and made light of their not so impressive wins vs losses. Even though they hadn’t had playoff runs, they had definitely enjoyed their football years and time at Moran high school. They were enjoying the day and catching up with each other.
The heat, while not a change from things this season, was still brutal. The teams both seemed a bit sluggish, and I saw at least one revisiting his lunch. I long for cooler days but definitely not the brutal cold ones. I was chugging water and eating small candies. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years covering outdoor events. I always keep candies in one pocket and a water bottle in the other. The last thing I want is people focused on the photographer passed out on the sidelines and not the game.
I was joined in the trenches by the Moran yearbook sponsor. She told me most of the kids were new to the yearbook staff this year and that with it being homecoming they were all busy with festivities. So, she had drawn the short straw to enjoy the heat with me. I was anxiously awaiting the quarter to end so we would switch ends and I could go enjoy the shade from the scoreboard. She joined me in the shade, and we both shot as long as we could from there. Shortly before halftime, I started feeling comfortably cool and knew I’d better get out of the heat fast. I managed to make it up the press box steps, past the giant mum, and into the cool. I figured if I rested a bit, I could make it back out for the second half.
As the clock quickly counted down with less than two minutes left, I got to explain the 45 point rule to Haydin. Blanket was ahead by 45 so I told him the game might be over at half. Then Moran had a fantastic run and scored. So, I then explained we would be coming back for the 3rd quarter. But wait! It’s Six-man! Don’t Blink! Blanket got the ball and ran it for a touchdown as the clock counted down. My poor grandson was so confused as to whether it was really over or not. I was laughing as I was trying to explain it.
I rushed down to the field to award helmet sticker winners. Number 15, Gage Jones, for Blanket walked over to me to ask me if he could get the sticker winner for me. I smiled and told him he was the winner. He jumped so high in the air he could have hurdled me, and he kept on jumping and smiling. I kind of think he was excited.
As we were loading up, some more Blanket players were taking last minute photos with the Jeep. I reminded them to send the photos to us. The lady taking them asked for my number to text them. I must have paused because she quickly told me she was coach Greenfield’s wife, not just a random stranger. I looked up at her and immediately recognized her and chuckled. Now, I have her number…
As we were about to drive away, Coach Hughes came to check on us one last time and make sure we had gotten some brisket sandwiches. He was a fantastic host! He had kept the press box cool and made sure we had everything we needed.
As we drove away, Haydin said “Y’all are famous! How much money do y’all make doing this?!”
Michael and I both roared with laughter and told him we pay to do this. We also explained that we are not famous, but fairly well known in lots of 1A towns along with the rest of the Texas 1A Fan team.
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