By Dency McClure
I rolled into Moran and made a beeline to the old Methodist church building. When I was in Junior High, my dad was pastor there. I have such fond memories of the monthly covered dish socials in the church basement. What a beautiful building. There was a woman that played the upright piano and a man that played a fiddle (violin). The music vibrated through that church basement and into my being. We always closed with “Til We Meet Again.” Well, many have since passed I’m sure, but today our souls met again as I passed by and the memories flooded back.
I refocused and headed up to the school. If you know the big water tower is on the football field, then it’s easy to find. Man what a field. It looks like a mansion as the sidelines are spacious and the areas behind the end zones are never ceasing. It is such a huge space. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a six-man field with that kind of space around it.
The field was a beautiful green. I know coach Hughes and his helpers have been working hard to make it a masterpiece. Their hard work is paying off.
The boys were working out on the large practice field behind one of the field goals. They even have it clearly marked off with yard lines. Such a great space. There was a horse that neighed every now and then whose home is right next to the practice field. Coach Hughes greeted me and welcomed me to their field.
I saw a familiar face, other than Coach Hughes, working with the boys. It was his son Braden. With the world as it is, he has decided to continue his college courses online instead of in person. He told me he has a job at the school and is helping his dad with football. Sounds like a great set up in the current world.
I spied a wooden cross staked under a tree near the corner of the main field. Similar to what you might see along the side of the highway. You can’t just see something like that next to a football field and not ask. Of course my imagination was running away with me before I got the answer. Coach Hughes told me the best he could remember being told was that the Ag program had a well loved shovel, might have been a hammer they may have crafted, which they used for many projects. They were using their beloved shovel one day and it broke. They had a little ceremony for it and buried it there under a big tree. Now that is a great story.
At one point, the boys ran the length of the field to the nice area on the other side of the other goal post. On this end they had all kinds of things set up for drills. After running through some drills they ran back across to work on the practice field some more.
I admired the water tower off and on during my visit. There were several large birds enjoying resting there. I bet they don’t have to deal with many small animals around the field if those birds stay around. Snake and varmint control never hurts in Six-man towns.
Having served on the city council in a town this size, I did began to wonder a bit as to who owned the property the tower sat on and what agreement had been made about it? Did the school own it or the city or just what? In small towns things like this are usually something that has been easily agreed upon for the best of all parties involved and just understood as time passes.
Coach Hughes had a well planned practice with lots of drills to get the boys ready. Some were fundamentals and some were more complex for preparing them for pushing through defense. They also ran lots of plays and scenarios. All in all, a great well-rounded practice. Coach Hughes was hands on and keeping an eye on things to make corrections as needed.
The boys worked well together and owned their roll in things. If they knew they were the reason for a play not going off as planned, they owned it and made adjustments to fix it.
I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit, at the end of practice, when Coach Hughes told the boys what their meal options from Dairy Queen would be after their upcoming scrimmage. I have taught pre-k and secondary, and I am here to tell you, there isn’t much difference at times. They had questions and wanted to know details and if they could change the menu he had offered etc. All in a day's work with kids. I chuckled to myself as he stayed strong, held his ground, and quickly shut the conversion down. He handled that like a true champion.
At the end of practice Coach Hughes asked me how far I had to travel to get back to my camper. I told him about an hour. He responded with “that’s not bad.” I agreed that it wasn’t. In this part of Texas and further west, an hour to travel is nothing. Now, when you cover schools around the Waco area an hour is starting to get a bit too far. It all depends on where you’re at in Texas.
After practice all the boys came up to me one by one and thanked me for coming. That made my day and left me with a great feeling for the trip back to my base camp.
See you on the sidelines!
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