Here we are in week #13. Can you imagine the season has gone so quickly? We have passed through the homecomings; senior nights; qualifying for districts and now we are in the thick of the playoffs. Any team that is playing this weekend could be a state champion.
The games and times at this time of year remind me of an introduction of a Grantland Rice article when he was writing about the Notre Dame - Army series back in the day.....October of 1924. No, I, was not an adult during those years (even though some days it seems it), but, I, like many others learned about Grantland Rice's prose as I grew up in participating in athletics.
There is nothing that polarizes a community like a winning team and a football team seems to push the reactions off the chart. I'm not sure if it is the game itself, the team concept, the identification of communities with teams because of their experiences or just the sense of belonging to a successful team; whatever it is, it is compelling and strong supported by loyalty and pride which run very, very deep.
So let's set the stage using Grantland Rice's introduction from the New York Herald Tribune, October 18, 1924 and let’s edit by using the names of your team, your stars and your attendance figures to complete the article. Take a look and see what fun it can be for your school.
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore, they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are (use your own four players names; such as Byers, Mertz, Gebhart and Biller). They formed the crest of the (your team's) cyclone before which another fighting opponent was swept over the precipice at the (your stadium) yesterday afternoon as (55,000 or your #) spectators peered down on the bewildering panorama spread on the green plain below. A cyclone can't be snared. It may be surrounded, but somewhere it breaks through to keep on going.
That's powerful stuff. Writing to paint a picture of what happened that late October day that people reading the story could understand. It's still relevant today.
We recognize those teams that ride forward in the November sky and advance to the next round of the playoffs. It is not always the best team, but the team that plays best on that day. So go forward and do your best.
Interscholastic athletics: Where history is written every day.