This week's web game is the most important game of the year as far as I
am concerned. The (3-1) Ringgold Tigers will take on the (4-0) Heritage Generals. These two schools
are just miles apart. And they are arch rivals. Arch arch rivals.
And yet, when I think about what is best about sports, and when I think about
what is best about the human race, I can't help but think about Friday's Ringgold-Heritage game.
You see, back in the spring, a killer tornado hit the Ringgold area. Winds of over
190 miles per hour devestatated the region. Jon Nelson and I made a trip up there
shortly after the twister hit and the damage was incredible. Homes....gone....
businesses....demolished. Lives lost. Ringgold High School was heavily damaged along with
the football stadium, weight room, wrestling room, field house, baseball and softball field.
Worst of all, two students lost their lives that night.
Jon Nelson and I were there for the Tigers first spring practice. I think the entire community
was still in shock. Head coach Robert Akins told the team on day one, that they would overcome
this adversity and that no self pity would be allowed. He told the team this in kind of
a strange place.....he told them this on the Heritage High practice field. You see the
Tigers arch rivals opened their doors, their school, their practice
field to their arch rivals extending a helping hand in a very difficult and trying time.
Heritage coach Tim James is a former marine. He called Coach Akins immediately and asked what
he could do to help out. I talked with Coach Akins this week. He said his team is showing
alot of resiliency. He admits things have been different. This summer N.W. Whitfield High School
allowed the Tigers to use their weight room. So 3 or 4 times a week the Tigers would make
the trip to Tunnel Hill, Georgia, to use the Bruins equipment.
The Ringgold players along with the Heritage players and the N.W. Whitfield players have learned
that there are alot more important things in life than a football game.
But this game on Friday night between the Tigers and the Generals is important. Its important
for what it stands for. Its important because its about folks looking out for each other and
helping each other out. No school should have to go through what the Ringgold Tigers are going
through. But its fantastic they are going through it with the help of some long time rivals
that have, through the adversities of life, become friends.
Isn't that was sports should teach?
Good luck to both schools. Kickoff at 7:30 on gpb.org/sports.