Somehow this post got stuck in my drafts. I have no idea why it never published, but I owe some of you an update. For those of you who follow my journey from far away, my Tigers won the State Championship! And I’m telling you now, this journey has all the makings of a Hollywood Blockbuster.
It’s the ultimate small town triumph. There’s the plant, closing down, leaving all the families uncertain about the future. And there are the players bound for college ball. One who learned humility and God’s grace. Another came back to Texas to lead the team to victory. His father was quarterback for the Tigers when they won the state championship game in 1976, the last time the Tigers went to state. Then there is the senior who’s father died right before practice was set to begin. His dad was the ultimate athletic booster and so the town raised money in his honor to put up the big VICTORY light at the stadium. Of course, that created our motto for the season- Keep It Lit. And yes, the is proof that a V was painted in the clouds as the Tigers rolled into AT&T Stadium.
Then there’s the coach’s son, who missed being quarterback for his father’s team because of a rare diagnosis of cancer. That’s what inspired our Gold Out games where towns all across Texas joined us in the fight against childhood cancer wearing T’shirts sold to raise money. And in the final play of the game, that boy got to suit up and take the snap in the victory formation. Yes, it’s a Kleenex grabber.
I’m not gonna lie to you. The game got off to a rough start. We were down 21 to 0 when the Tigers decided they’d come way to far to go home without that trophy. I wish I could tell you I was there watching it all unfold. But the game was in Dallas and I didn’t have the money to drive there, pay for parking, and buy enough tickets for all my kids.
A few people offered to take me with them to the game, but as much as I wanted to go, I wasn’t going without my kids. So, we had our own little party. Chips, queso, and Fox Sports.
We clapped and yelled and jumped out of our seats from the comfort of our own living room. We got to see the playbacks and hear the commentary, but we missed out on being part of the crowd.
I was pretty bummed about that, but there was a silver lining. My husband, well, he’s not the football fan I am. He blames it on being a hyperactive little boy who was forced to sit still and watch games with his dad. Maybe it left a bad taste in his mouth. Yet, my husband knows I spend my Friday nights and Saturday mornings watching my boys play ball. And even when it’s not really MY boy, I’m still watching the Tigers play ball. Because that’s me. I love those Friday Night Lights and I think half this kids in this town somehow belong to me. I’m a sucker for rivalry games and Pep Rally bonfires. So when the busses rolled back into town in the middle of the night, my husband drove me to the field to honk and holler and congratulate the kids who played a monumental game. That V is still lit, and despite the hardships going on all around us, Tiger Nation is a good place to be.