By Bobbie Brown
I headed west from Lubbock and made my way to Ropesville, Texas. Yes, that is the name of the town, but as we like to do in Texas, we chop the name off. Ropes. Rolls off the tongue a little better. And if you have an especially twangy accent, it sounds even better.
I pulled into the football field. The practice field sits just to the north of the game field. Let me tell you… THAT is the prettiest, most well-groomed practice field I have ever seen! Very green and no stickers (yes, that is important)! That’s my kind of field. There were 29 (yes, that is correct) kids on that beautiful practice field. I made my way over to Ropes Assistant Coach Robby Kyle. I coached with Coach Kyle many moons ago. Love the guy! It’s always a pleasure talking to him. We conversed as the players warmed up and completed a few throwing drills. Coach Jackson appeared at the edge of the field, and it was time to start practice. The JV and varsity split up and went through their many plays. Coach Jay Bingham and Blake Jackson (Lane’s nephew) took the JV through their drills. The varsity was led by Coaches Jackson and Kyle. Coach Kyle told me they have another coach, Captain Bill Sanders, who will help with the junior high. It’s a good thing they have the Captain. I can’t imagine how many junior high players they have!
Ropes has a chute. I had seen one at Matador a few weeks ago. This one was larger to accommodate more players. I can see the reason for having a chute. It encourages players to aggressively move forward and then up into the defensive opponent instead of standing straight up and then moving forward. The Eagles used it well. I have concluded this is a pretty cool device. I compare it to the large wooden chair my college coach put in front of me behind the three-point line to keep me from stepping when I shot the basketball. Unconventional but effective!
During a water break, I was able to speak with Coach Jackson. He’s always very pleasant and genuinely happy to see me. I interviewed him and then he smiled really big and pointed out the new Ropes field house. A big, beautiful white field house with Ropes Eagle logos all over the front. I laughed because special signs adorn the front just for Coach parking. Coach Kyle pointed out the old field house, which now sits in the shadow of the newer building. He teaches history and told me that the old field house used to be the school for the segregated population back in the 1930s. He includes that in a lesson each year. I’d say 80 years is many years of putting a building to good use. The new facility has a nice big dressing room for the Eagles, the visiting team, and the Lady Eagle track team, plus various other rooms. Really cool graphics on the doors point you to the correct place. I did peek into the coach’s office. It’s enormous by 1A coaching standards. I have to say, I was pretty proud of the field house, too. And I don’t live there.
Before I left, I walked over to the game field. It is also immaculate. The grounds people at Ropes are top notch! You can tell they are extremely proud of their facilities. One thing that stood out to me during practice… at some point a dog showed up. Ok, so how many of you have a football field dog? I know there are some! I’ve come to expect almost every football field to have a dog that hangs around. I’ve seen many. And they are always welcome because they just hang out, watch, and sometimes run with the players. The Ropes dog socialized with the players during the water breaks. He also ran out on the field with them afterward, but he seemed to notice when it was time for serious business and trotted off to the sidelines when drills began. Cool dog. I didn’t ask his name. Maybe I need to!
I always enjoy visiting Ropes. If you have a free Friday night, get out and watch some football. You might want to head on over to Ropesville. They scrimmage Amherst this week. Just remember to drop the “ville” when you’re there. Until next time, Go forward and do GOOD!