No One Circles the Wagons...

When I was five years old my parents took Dustin and me down to the community center to sign up for football and cheerleading -- from that moment on we bled red & black. I did what every other little girl in Wayne does and cheered on the sidelines until about middle school and lost interest, but my brother continued to play and I was still at every game... just not on the sidelines. 

It's hard to explain what football does for Wayne, W.Va. Some looking from the outside in may think we're over the top, or roll their eyes when they see countless tweets/Facebook statuses about football Friday nights, but for those of us who have grown up in this town, it's so much more. 

Football, for us, connects every single person in our town;  the old men who stand on the fence, the parents who reminisce on their glory days, the cooks who fly flags on their cars, the youth players running touchdowns under the bleachers, and even the kids who are "anti-athlete" people (I see you sitting along the outer fence sneaking cigarettes!). Everyone is there. Or listening. Or checking for updates. And when November comes, we are that much more tuned in. 

These coaches and players give our town something to be proud of. As a teacher now, I see football's purpose in a small town in a different light. I see these little boys come to school in their jerseys and play pick up games on the playground. Then I hear their stories. For some of these boys football is the only thing they have to push them. Their coaches are the only father figures in their lives. Friday nights are their only shots at college. It's those boys I thought about tonight as that pass fell incomplete and those .2 seconds ran off the clock. Then I cried. (GO FIGURE!)

As I prepare to get married and start my new life, I don't know where I'll be living, but I can only pray that my kids get to experience living in a small football town. I pray that if they play football (PLEASE GOD!) there are signs hanging up and down the streets. I pray that the stadium is filled on Friday nights and I pray that their are strong men patient enough to give them the guidance and push that they need to be successful, not only on the field, but off. And if all else fails, I pray that their uncle Dustin will bring them to Wayne and teach them how to tackle! 

I guess my whole point in writing this was to express how proud, not only I am, but our whole community. If you're a player or a coach, hold your head high. You are so respected and so loved. 

No one circles the wagons like the Wayne Pioneers!