Before I can even begin to talk about The 100 Years of Viking Football, before I can even begin to think about Nations Ford, the practices, the hopes and dreams of young men and eager fans. Before I can do any of that.. I have to say Thanks to all of you.
All of you that reached out to me. Those who reached out to Lisa’s Family… I say Thank you from the bottom of my broke but healing heart.I truly believe August will help cure some of this. The empty seat beside me will sometimes be tough to look at but I am just fine with that…to me it will always be full. It is my Foundation. She is my Foundation.
Last October.. Lisa and I stood in the end zone of the turf field on Dupre Drive. She thought she was there to watch a few minutes of practice. She had no idea what was about to happen, nor did I for the most part. As Spartanburg broke it down as Practice ended the clapping got closer.It began to swell in Volume and moved toward the end zone. Lisa turned and said,”Why are they clapping? Are they clapping for you? Your website?”
“No baby, they are clapping for you.” She began to panic, stood up and began to cry. I grabbed her. I held her. I whispered in her ear, “They know Lisa,They care. I got you..just breathe.” We always said that. It’s more or less her family motto which she taught me.
I held her as Coach Miller spoke for a few minutes, I spoke for a few..and Lisa cried and told them thank you as much as she could get it out.
Then Tommy Washington ran to her, picked her up and looked Lisa Michelle in the eyes and said, “I’M YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN!” then it started…player after player after player. Coaches, students and just about every individual on that field came over and hugged her and spoke to us.
I’ve called it The 100 Hugs.
The following Friday I spoke to the team in the locker room before the Dorman game. While that conversation will remain private, not too many dry eyes were in that room. I was offered to watch the game from the sideline. I felt my place is in the stands.
I am a fan first. (a wanna be writer second)
April 7th,2018. The date that will live in “my infamy.” I lost Lisa Michelle that night, A woman who I had known since I was 9 or 10 years old. People say there is no such thing as love at first site. I can’t answer that, all I know is that August Morning at Houston Elementary on the rear playground..I saw her run past me. I was done. I don’t know what I saw except those eyes.
There are many tales of her and I to come this season…I’ll let them seep out as needed.
I’ll close this part of this ramble with this message to Spartanburg Players, coaches, students, fans, my readers, etc…
Lisa Michelle was every bit of the WARRIOR stickers you wore on your helmets for her. She fought and fought and fought. I’m still hoping that Mr.Stevens allows her to be honored at some point during the season with a Mental Health Awareness theme of sorts. He did ask me if there was anything they could do. Lord knows her family and I would love to see her eyes on that jumbo tron at Gibbs Stadium, all the while bringing awareness to so many issues that are often overlooked. She can be a Foundation to help someone else. I’m just fine with that.
Sometimes..the better team loses..
Sometimes..the better team finds peace.
So from 100 Hugs to 100 Years…
1,090 GAMES. 100 YEARS. 7 STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS.
I know we aren’t the only school to play 100 years of Football but it’s still pretty damn cool to me. To think 100 years ago in 1918, a year that saw the end of the first World War. I think of kid whose father may have worked a double shift in the mill that day, digging his bloody knuckles into a part dirt, part patches of grass here and there field. He sweats under a burning sun. He knows he needs water. What he doesn’t know is that his blood, his sweat laid the foundation for the kid who will do the same tomorrow.
No matter if it is 1918 or 2018…The soul is always thirsty. The days are long and hot. The games are still a battle of effort and discipline. Power. Glory. Strategy. Failure. Victory!!
There’s that word … VICTORY. It’s a word most definitely earned.
So here’s to THE 2018 SPARTANBURG VIKINGS FOOTBALL TEAM…
The players, coaches, cheerleaders, band members, teachers, parents and the students.
I say to all of you.. Support your school..make being the end of an era the foundation for the next group of people who will start a new era.
THE SAGA CONTINUES…