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Losing a game that I never played

  • Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coach Jimmy Noonan (far left) stands with his selected players of the week for Wando’s 20-19 Saturday night win over James Island. The recipients are (from left) offense, Christian Hart; special teams, Casey Clawson; defense, Matt Norman; scout teams, Trevor Pederson and Carter Revland. Players, coaches and the community met at the East Bay Deli for a breakfast meeting Monday morning hosted by the Mount Pleasant Football Association to recap the game.

I wasn't a fan of high school football. My first year on my high school's basketball team also happened to be the same year the football team went undefeated, including an easy victory in the state championship game.
They were the big shots on campus, and they were quick to point that out.
The basketball team was good - we were a perennial state playoff team and top contender in a competitive area - but we didn't win every game en route to a state title. I was jealous, so naturally, I didn't like those football guys wearing their championship rings everywhere they went.
Sure, some of them were my friends, but being viewed as a runner up to their gridiron triumphs wasn't fun.
Transitioning into sports reporting, I knew those grudges against a major area of coverage would have to change, and they did for the most part, but I was still local and still reminded of that year.
The whole basketball team was put on a bus to see that Sunday drive worth of a football title game, which they won 28-0 against supposedly the best team out of western North Carolina. We rooted for them, and when we realized it was just another blowout, we had mixed emotions.
After the game, we sat on the bus happy for our fellow athletes and relieved that the attention - we thought - could be shifted to basketball season.
'They're going to be so cocky,' we all kept saying of the players that would join the basketball team. They were, but they had earned it. I was jealous.
When we lost our first game that season, an inevitability with about a 30-game season, classmates joked that the football team already had us beat.
We were perceived as the loser of a game that had never been played against our own high school of a different sport.
Frustration is the word we'll use in this family newspaper.
But now, nearly 200 miles removed, I found myself refreshing my Twitter feed this past Friday night for score updates to my high school's football season opener.
They won, and I was thrilled.
Sometimes you tell yourself so many times that things have changed that you convince yourself they have indeed changed - whether or not they actually have.
I told myself I was a proud alumnus; now I'm sure that's real.
I'm not taking allegiance to any local team here, but I'm pleased by what I think and have been told what's to come this football season. Sertoma proved there are lots of pure athletes and no shortage of story ideas.
Monday morning at the East Bay Deli in Mount Pleasant, Wando coach Jimmy Noonan reviewed the previous game against James Island and prepped for the next one against Beaufort.
He offered his analysis and awarded game balls to deserving players in front of about 40 players, coaches, family members and local fans.
I was impressed by the idea of a weekly gathering like this and that East Bay Deli opened its doors more than an hour earlier than publicly noted for the breakfast chat.
As we prepare to dive head first into the high school football season, my feeling is already decidedly different. With my past resentment cured, let's enjoy the season.
(Tyler Heffernan can be reached at theffernan@moultrienews.com.)

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