Middletown is that small town. The place between Atlanta and Charlotte. It’s between Houston and Dallas. You can find it between Miami and Los Angeles. It’s even between Asheville and Columbia. A town that has the superb ability to capture the “big city” inside a “small town”.
On Friday Nights,Every Autumn into the days of early Winter..Heroes are born. This is our teams rebirth. This is High School Football in Middletown. Coming off a hard-fought season that ended with a 2nd round playoff loss to another county team. Unfairly,Things this team will accomplish and fail at on the football field this upcoming season will affect people throughout the year.Day after day.Weeks to Months. For years this season will be remembered.Will people remember the Glory? or only the Power. A power that a true “hero” wouldn’t have. The power to fail.
The Middletown Saints have been playing football for a hundred years, Mascots may have changed, school districts and board members came and went. Middletown has always been here. When a lot of the towns Mill Factories closed and those jobs left parts of Middletown basically in ruin. The Saints were here. Every Friday Night 5000 people. 8000 people. A few times a year against rivals,10,000 or more. The Saints carried the weight of a community.
When senseless crimes were committed in the name of race,drugs and location..The Saints were here. When a suicide rocked Middleburg High School and the team itself.The Saints were here.
By weight I mean, It’s not a weight where the town would go under financially.It’s the emotional and humanistic sides of it. If there is a Not so much Moral Compass but a Spirit Compass in Middletown. It is measured by High School Football. A State Title for Middletown leads to men holding doors from women. It leads to a high graduation percentage.It leads to friendships that last generations. It leads to successful productive people who at one time were Saints.
I’m not writing this as if to say winning cures society. WE ALL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO. What I am trying to say is you don’t have to walk the halls throwing up gang signs.You don’t have to hang all your “heritage” on flag at the state capital. We don’t have to be divided. Don’t you ever see how it almost completely disappears when we are all on the “same team”. “THE SAINTS”. There will always be rivals and smack talk.There will always be racism and crime. There will always be drugs,mental illness and good old-fashioned stupidity. There will also always be the ten guys who stand around at halftime making “smoking section adjustments to the offensive and defensive schemes”. There will always be the white guy buying a football program from the black cheerleader.There will always be the black woman turning to the white family walking through the gate and telling them to enjoy the game. There will always be that moment when you and everyone around you know that it’s a Middletown thing.When you stand in a football stadium in silence remembering a fallen student,teacher or alumni. There will always be good.
There will always be heroes.
Now I hope you see that everywhere has a “MIDDLETOWN SAINTS”. Roebuck has one. Inman has one. Woodruff. Gaffney. Central. Dixie.Marlboro. Wahalla. Colleton. Etowah has a Middletown, I’ve seen it. Every little nook in our beloved state. States across this country are filled with Middletowns.
I think sometimes us as people give up on ourselves and others too quickly. Football is so measured by what you did and what your gonna do. it is not often measured by what you are doing.
A lot of time outside of learning,teaching,coaching,practicing is spent Dreaming.
It’s understood,By every single person
Who’d be elsewhere if they could
So far so good
And life’s not unpleasant
In their little neighborhood
…THEY DREAM IN MIDDLETOWN