Saturday, November 7, 2015

Bobcat Family

I love reliving the glory days.

I can tell you how it felt the entire 1995 football season, and the entire 1996 football season.

Cheering on the sideline.  Hot sun beating down during cheer practice and our run through the sprinklers on a Sunday when Coach magically appeared and yelled for us to "Get off that field." Being forgotten after the  Montgomery County bowl and getting pizza the next Monday because Coach knew that to make his cheerleading coach mad meant trouble.

Wins.  Lots of wins.  Every week a win. 

And community support.  Signs.  Packed stands.  Loud clapping.

It was wonderful...

but I also remember the lowest point of Breathitt County football since it got its feet on the ground.

It rained every single week, and every single week we'd track through mud on fields. Mud so thick you'd lose your shoes. I was a spectator back then, and got to smell those stinky pads the whole way home.

It was miserable.  We lost every single game that season, except against Knott County. And we only won that one in overtime.

There were no packed stands. There was little clapping. There were signs, but it was because my Mom made them.

Every year, at the end of the season, I'm sad.  I'm sad because I don't like endings. I'm sad because there are a group of seniors that I've grown to know and love... if not off the field, on.

Last night, I was especially sad.  I wasn't sad because we lost necessarily.  And I wasn't sad because we didn't execute well... even though at times I wish I could have gone out there and gave Cam a big hug or fired up our line a little bit.

And here's the thing.  When Josh Adams jumps off sides, I feel like I have the right to quarrel at him a little bit in the stands... because I'm one of his biggest fans. I brag on him.  And when Randy Melton gets a penalty, again, I feel like I have the right to quarrel, because I'm not just quarreling about the negative.

What made me sad last night?

Arriving at the game as the National Anthem was being played, Mom and I expected to have to park up town.  Surprisingly, we walked right in. There was no traffic. There were no packed stands.

It didn't feel like a football playoff game.

And it wasn't even cold.

I'd like to think that if we were winning and heading to the state championship, it'd be different...

but then I think about the last time that Breathitt's girls went to Bowling Green.

Administration didn't even call off school so that they could go to the boys state tournament the next week... and Breathitt's boys weren't even in the state tournament.

What saddens me about last night, and so many nights, is the complete apathy that we as a county demonstrate. As a whole, many do not care about community. 

I wish I knew the answers.  Our problems go far beyond an upacked football stadium, and I'll be the first to admit it.

But maybe we could start by coming together to support our local kids.

In the 1995 year, it was great.  We were winning.

But we were a family... and that was what meant so much more.

Our kids deserve that. For some of them, it may be the only family they ever know.

Today, and everyday, I'm so thankful to be a part of the Bobcat family. Nobody knows how much time our kids and coaching staff put into the game. For many out there on the football field last night, they played no organized football in grade school or middle school. That means we're learning fundamentals at the high school level, folks.  Breathitt didn't become a powerhouse in a day. It won't get back there in a day. And before you start pointing fingers at the state department, the decision to halt grade school football was made by the same administration that decided to go to the boys state tournament instead of cheering our girls on in Bowling Green. The only way we will have a powerhouse football program again is by community buy-in and support. So, if you see those boys at Walmart, pat them on the back. They don't need to hear they did a bad job... they know when they make a mistake. You'll see it in the way they hang their head. They do need to know that you care. There's always room for more people in the Bobcat football family... in the Bobcat family as a whole, for that matter. You just have to yell loud and be passionate about something.

And maybe, that passion... just may make a difference in our community as a whole.

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