Friday nights in Perfect, as in half the towns and villages in the state, the lights come on in the local high school football stadium. This past Friday night, the lights went out, so to speak, for our local warriors of the gridiron. What I am saying is that they ran into a buzzsaw, suffering the worst defeat in the school's history. Now I have many acquaintances and a grandson who are members of the team. We all understand that in a contest of this nature there will be a winner and a loser. But we are all winners if we pick up the pieces, move on, and face the next encounter with pride and courage. And of course we hope that the rival who beat us is grateful to us, the loser, for without a loser, there can be no winner.
Since I was thinking football, I went back to the archives and pulled up this story I posted four years ago. It is from the "Loonville" series of tales I shared which were based on our experiences in that fair community long ago. Perhaps I'll resurrect a few more of these vignettes?
Here we are in Loonville, Friday evening deep into high school football season! The air is crisp, but not bitingly cold. Nylon jackets will be the order of the night, as we gather at the football field for the kick-off between the Loonville Shawnees and the Podunk Hellions. Arch arch-rivals, districts separated only by county road 600 North, if you are coming from Podunk, or 1600 South if leaving Loonville. Same road either way.
Sometime since then, the mists of memory befogging the details, both communities recognized the political incorrectness of the one moniker and the social inappropriateness of the other. The teams have been redubbed "Hawks" and "Argonauts" respectively. These changes were just wrong on several levels, imho. Loonville is situated full within the stomping grounds of the Shawnees of old. What better way to honor them than by keeping their name alive? Yes, I know the history is not pretty. And as for Podunk calling themselves Hellions, I taught school there for six years, and that is not wrong.
Friday nights are no more intense in Texas than they are in Indiana when two hard-nosed teams harboring grudges and enmity meet on the field of honor. The Shawnees are coached by Jim Laird who for a man of his tender years (he's in his mid-forties) has the highest percentage wins over losses of any coach in the state. Virgil Grimes who coaches Podunk has more wins, but he is but a couple years from casting his bait into a lake in the Ozarks on a daily basis. The rivalry in football, back to the earliest date that both schools fielded football teams, stands at Shawnees 12, Hellions 11, deadlocks 4. Loonville must defend its honor and maintain the edge. Podunk, on the other hand, is riding a 32 game win streak and has only five more to go to set a state record.
There is no need relating the play-by-play, and how Corcoran, with but eight seconds, fourth and seventeen...
So anyway, Podunk is now riding 33, and there is no joy in Loonville.
© 2010 David W. Lacy