Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Go Bulldogs!

Dear Bulldog Nation,

Can we take anymore of this excitement?  I mean, really, is it Thursday yet?

For the first time in the history of the universe, Athens High School Bulldogs are playing in the Division III State Football Championship game.  They are taking cheerleaders, the Marching Green and Gold, and most of Athens County with them.  

The game will begin at 7:30 PM in The Ohio State University's Horseshoe.  Many a battle has been fought there, and we expect another battle Thursday night.  No couches will burn if we lose, but we aren't planning to lose.   The stadium is the last stop for the A-train in what has been a historic, phenomenal season. 

The Mayor declared Thursday Athens Bulldog Day and is asking everyone to wear green and gold. Did we need to be asked?  School will end early on Thursday, not as early as it should, but early, and the town is being invited to line the streets as we give these young football players a proper send off.  

There's been all sorts of scuttlebutt about school ending early the day of the game and school delays the following Friday morning.  It reminds me of words my imaginary BFF once said, or at least nearly said:

"The A-Train keeps cruising
Can't stop, won't stop winning
It's like they got this music
In their mind
Saying, "It's gonna be alright."

"'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Toledo Central Catholic's gonna break, break, break, break, break

"Bulldogs never miss a beat
They are lightning on their feet
And that's what the fans see, mmm-mmm
Yes, that's what we see, mmm-mmm"

Where was I? And is it weird that I love Taylor Swift?

As we know, this isn't just a football game.  

This football game is a lesson.  Yes, as cliche as it sounds, this is a life lesson.

Our town is great about supporting our children.  When an elementary school girl's recipe won a national contest that took her all the way to the White House, our school district decided to offer her winning meal for lunch.  When the city celebrated Nuit Blanche earlier this year,  Athens Middle School students had their art displayed in local businesses.  These are just a couple examples.  There are countless others.  This is a great community to raise children.  We are are a community committed to supporting one another.  

Sure, we cancel school when there is a chance of snow no harm in being cautious, but there is a rationale for also letting children out of school early when there is a valuable lesson to be learned.

When a group of young people work hard, follow directions, stay focused, work as a team, A-mazing things can happen.  This isn't about top recruits or the importance of football.  This is a lesson about work ethic and character.  This is a lesson about supporting one another, and this reflects on the culture of our community.  We should be proud of this and celebrate it!

When we hear criticisms about how much attention we are giving this game or how it's interfering with education, then we will just have to shake it off.  Shake it off. 

But the feeling of pride we have for this team and this community is something we won't and can't and shouldn't shake off. 

Go Bulldogs!

A Band Mom who isn't even originally from these parts and is so happy her teen is gonna play the trumpet in the Horseshoe that she could explode with gratitude. Please don't tell my daughter I just said that!

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