STROKIN’ THE NOVA: An Open Letter to The Spartanburg Vikings

You know, this morning I woke up and I thought about last nights game. Again. I guess it’s true.”It’s hard to shake off the earthquakes when they are in your head.” I stood outside the fence as The Spartanburg Vikings came off the field last night.I watched young men cry.I saw them hug their families. I watched coaches make young men.Every kid on that field,grew up in some form or fashion last night.

I’m not about to sit here and write about how we should have won.We should have.No stat or scoreboard or even a state title will convince me Boiling Springs was the better football team last night.That’s I all i am going to say about that.

The rest of this is going to be about you and I.I’m going to tell you who I am and why I do this.I’ll try to keep it as short as I can.I hope this will help every kid that may read it.I hope it relates to everyone else it some way,

Yesterday was my Birthday.On December 9th,MANY MOONS AGO..I was born In Jacksonville ,Florida.My father was convicted double murderer and died on death row,My Mom tried..but you know it’s hard to be a person period.I moved to Snow,Oklahoma for most of my earlier years.  I lived on an Indian reservation there.Which is pretty cool when your 6.I lived in Drayton until I was 14 or 15 years old. The Spartanburg Buses ride through Drayton every day most likely and a lot of you players don’t know about the “Mill Hills”. Drayton,Beaumont,Whitney were all places with families that had jobs.The Mills Closed,the landscape of everything changed.Today those communities are dying if not already dead. Being 13 in Drayton wasn’t that much different from being that age and living in Highland,North side,Lakeview,etc.. The difference was, one was broke ass Black people.The other was broke ass white people. When your poor,you do some desperate things.Most of my friday nights were spent at Snyder field watching Spartanburg play and then drinking in the woods or whatever trouble we could find.

I was kicked out of district 7 by junior high.Could no longer attend school in the district.EVER. Which led me to three oaks apartments with my mother in Cowpens. 52 apartments of desperate,Broke ass black and white people.Which gets me to a night I made a another terrible desperate attempt at being a man.

I made a decision that sent me to R&E in Columbia,SC For 43 days.After my “Reception and Evaluation”,My psychological tests,IQ Tests,counselors,etc..I was sentenced to 27 months at two differnt facilities in Columbia. I’ve seen stabbings,beatings things you couldn’t imagine.LOCKUP on MSNBC is Real. It was very real to me.I was there.The mindsets were the same,just younger people behind bars and cages.I thought I was becoming a man.

Ok,so I fast forward to being released. I return to Broome High School,I was so pissed that I wasn’t in District 7,I wouldn’t play football for Broome. Coach Chris Miller from his days at Cowpens Jr High to being Head Coach at Broome talked to me. He tried to get me straight and focused. My head headedness,My “extra curricular” activities were more important.Every Friday I was wherever Spartanburg was.I didnt go to broome games unless they were playing SHS. I finish school.I worked 3rd shift my entire last year of high school,Scored a 1200 on my SAT AND… Didnt go to college. Another decision of desperation,Money was more important.My mother had been forced into early retirement.we were living in a run down trailer park near Idlewood.I was working and stealing food from grocery stores to feed my mother and I. Yes ,I did that. You know I was a man.

So if you read those above paragraphs..??? did you notice what was missing??? I didn’t even get my chance to go to Spartanburg High School. I’ve seen close to 500 spartanburg games,349(I think) in a row.Never went to school there.

By the age of 21,I got a job as a Dental laboratory Tech and I have worked for almost twenty-five years.I now live in Mauldin.I moved when I changed jobs,a couple of years ago.I have 2 Kids at SHS,one who is sophomore,The other a senior about to graduate and enroll at University of South Carolina or Converse. I have two more,step children,One at Limstone College,the other at Full Sail University .

I played drums in regional rock bands/RapRock bands for 20 plus years also.Every band you hear on 93.3 I’ve played with almost all of them.Limp Bizkit,Incubus,System of a Down to Kid Rock,Staind,Creed,NickelBack,etc..I WAS THERE,I did that.

It took many years for me to grow up.I have always regretted not being to have played football for Spartanburg High School.It haunts me.It isn’t a “what could have been haunt”…it’s a “I Wanted and most likely needed that tradition in my world” kinda haunt.

So I’m gonna try to thank all of you.Please forgive me if I forget you.It’s the bipolar meds and it being 4:45 am..

Coach Chris Miller,Coach Love,The entire staff and especially Coach Nate Harris.I couldn’t find you last night,But Thank You so freakin’ much for everything you personally did for this team..and Me.

Todd Staley and Jeff Stevens have been great to me for years,Thank you gentlemen.Dana Mason, what can I say?? I truly believe one day you could run this school district. Unbelieveable person. Ryan Clary,DJ Moore and everyone at FOX1400AM. Jed Blackwell,Travis Jenkins,Kevin Melton,Jason Gilmer,simply put you are the reasons I write. Spartanburg “Stat Guy” Zach Johnson. 

Every Parent and Fan I’ve met.I’m sorry it’s too many to name.Thank all of you for the support and fellowship. David,Thank you brother.

Destiny,Emilie,Chance,and all The SHS CHEERLEADERS.I tried to find you last night to tell you all thanks personally..Sorry,just know that you guys and gals were great.

Every Player ,Coach,Radio Crew,Journalist from Summerville,TL Hanna,Etowah,Union,Northwestern,Dorman,Gaffney,Clover…Thank You all.

and most importantly…THE 2016 SPARTANBURG VIKINGS FOOTBALL TEAM.

Just know i would have personally stood there and told every kid on this team how much i love watching you play and how proud i am of every one of you.I never wanted to be a weekly distraction to any of you,I just believe that every kid,every gold helmet deserves attention. Not just for what you do on the football field but what you do in school and anywhere else your paths may lead you. Thank you all so much. I cannot say that enough. 

Oh just in case you didn’t know..i’m sorry for the rambling and drifting from subject to subject..A supernova is an astronomical event that occurs during the stages of  massive star’s life, whose dramatic and catastrophic evolution is marked by one final titanic explosion.This causes the sudden appearance of a ‘new’ bright star.

Make sure you turn your desperation in perspiration. when people tell you Hard Work plays off. Thats not blowing smoke OR ADULTS BEING ALL ADULT LIKE.

It’s “STROKIN’ THE NOVA”.  It’s grabbing your “new star”. Hold your head up.Be Proud.

You got to things that people like me missed out on. You Deserve EVERYTHING YOU WORK FOR.

Everyone of the kids,players and coaches I talked to last night after the game.I told them thank you.Thank you for letting me part of something I truly don’t deserve. I don’t deserve to write blogs about my most favorite thing in the world. 

Spartanburg Football. 

 

 

 

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