By Dency McClure
I got up before the sun this morning to get ready to head out to Jonesboro for their 7 am practice. When I double checked the GPS, I realized I would be traveling heavily animal populated roads again in the dark. All I could think was when will it be light outside? I braved the roads in the dark again in my little Fiat. Wouldn’t you know it, I hit a skunk right out of the gate. Thankfully, the smell was probably as light as it gets after hitting a skunk.
I made the rest of the trip just fine. Pretty sure a player running a bit late zoomed past me a few miles out from Jonesboro. The school was easy to find because I just followed the row of older pick up trucks down the road and behind the school to the field house. I was greeted by a friendly group of town dogs that had a great time sniffing the skunk smell on my car.
I waited with the group of boys for practice to start. One was asking everyone what they wanted to listen to and getting the music playing. He also gave a regular countdown for the moment they were to start their workout. When he announced the start time all the players began moving in mass toward a maze of hurdles and began making their way through the maze. I had no idea the hurdles were set up in that area for them. I had to move back from where I had been standing to stay out of the way. It was impressive to watch them go over and under etc with such uniformity and routine.
I followed the boys and coaches around to different areas set up for drills. Everything was very organized. They had plenty of room to have multiple drill stations. Coach Gallegos took time out to come visit with me for a bit. I always enjoy our talks. We grew up not too far apart. I graduated from Newcastle and he from Strawn. Our schools played each other often. I have to admit I am older than he is so we weren’t in high school at the same time.
The Jonesboro stadium sits on a flat area on a hill. You walk down from the parking area then down the bleachers on the side of the hill to the field. If you go behind the visitor stands to a practice area, you could walk even further down the hill to an area where there are lots of trees and some goats. It was a very pleasant and peaceful setting in the early morning. The field grass was green and had a heavy dew. The footballs had to be dried often because of the dew.
I had to get a photo of one of the younger coaches’ socks. They were very colorful with Big Bird on them. They made me chuckle, and he wore them proudly.
The Superintendent was there helping run practice. He liked one song that played on their little portable sound system so much that he kept singing it loudly even after the song was over. He told everyone he wished that song would just play continuously as it’s a great upbeat song. Everyone was relaxed and having a good time even if it was a workout.
I got to see passing drills, tire roll tackles, and some fox and hound plays. I left before practice was completely over. The friendly dogs escorted me back to my car and enjoyed sniffing the skunk smell again. One was very fluffy without much of a tail. One appeared to be a German Shepherd and the others...I’m not sure about. A very friendly bunch though.
I have covered many Jonesboro football games, but for some reason, never actually in Jonesboro. I decided to drive around town a bit and see what was there. Like most 1A towns, it didn’t take very long to see most of it. Jonesboro is a very attractive little town with a lot going for it. I headed back to Meridian turning at the sign pointing to Fairy.
Now I don’t know about y’all, but after seeing multiple signs to Fairy over the last few days I decided I must go see this Texas Fairy town. It was a bit out of the way but I couldn’t be that close and not go. It was about what I expected. Beautiful, tiny brightly colored flying fairies greeted me and buzzed all around my stinky skunk car. Nah, it was a very pretty little town though. Glad I went, for now I know what is in Fairy and where it is. According to the Texas State Historical Association website, Fairy was named after a Confederate Army Captain's daughter.
I made it back to my base camp safely without hitting any more animals.
See you on the sidelines!
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