I took the wrong road into Ackerly, but found a cool, old gas station. The Sinclair gas station is closed but it was in great condition and as an added bonus, the green dinosaur still sat out front. Under the overhang of the gas station sat an old vehicle in really good condition. I have been to Ackerly many times, but I always turn on the road right beside the school. So glad I took the “wrong” road. And it still got me to the Sands Mustang football field.
I like to arrive early and look around; observe the pre-game activities of the home town. Although I arrived more than an hour and half before game time, the Mustangs flags were already flapping in the wind from the top of the stands and the cooker was billowing smoke.
I made my way to the field and found Coach Billy Grumbles. He was watching a few of the mustangs warm up. He welcomed me to Sands and shook my hand. We had a great conversation about the team and the upcoming game. Soon Coach Keith appeared. I thanked him for doing such a creative and fun Coach Spotlight interview. You could tell they had fun with it! He welcomed me to Sands with a big smile!
Soon after I found Coach Toby Goodwin in the middle of the field. I had not seen him since week 1 at the Gridiron Classic. He smiled real big and thanked me for coming. After discussing players and the upcoming game, conversation turned to mutual friends and general small town stuff.
This is what I love about Sixman football and the 1A community. We are all from small towns. If you graduated from a small 1A school, no matter how many years ago, there is a chance that you know many others from small towns. We grow up playing against each other and then come back to our communities or another small community. Our kids then grow up playing with and against each other. And the pattern continues. And what an awesome pattern it is. Others then move in and find the small town life has meaning and join our ranks. This makes for a wonderful community of people who genuinely care about each other. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
I really enjoyed my visit to Sands. The coaches from both teams were welcoming and reminded me why I love small town Texas and 1A schools!
Observations from Ira vs Sands: