Best football in the state Friday
Is it really possible to have too much of a good thing?
Fans of the T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal Football teams will have a chance to find out Friday night.
My guess is that the answer will be a resounding "no."
Both the Tigers and Blue Eagles won their respective playoff contests Friday night and will now face -- you guessed it -- each other in the next round of competition. It sets up a week's worth of the kind of rivalry-generated excitement that doesn't come around very often.
Of course the two teams play each other during the regular season every year, and that game is marked on everyone's calendar well in advance. This season, T.R. Miller got the win in a game that was exciting up until the last minute.
But how often is there a chance to see the teams play with so much on the line?
It takes more than the occasional contest for a really great long-term sports rivalry to develop, at any level. And it takes more than just the geographic proximity of the two teams.
From high school to college to the pros, the stories that make the rivalries "storied" have to build one upon the other for a period of many years. It's this aging process that gives great rivalries their meaning.
The Yankees and Red Sox didn't become rivals overnight. It took hundreds of heated contests for the two clubs to become the mutual antagonists they are today. It's the weight of history all those games have gone into creating, layer upon layer, that makes their rivalry so great.
Even the great college football rivalries mean more and more as the years go by, and new chapters are added to the common story they share.
The T.R. Miller/W.S. Neal rivalry has developed that way.
Every time to two teams take the field, it's more than just another ballgame. The contest represents decades worth of hardfought competition. It's good clean fun, but for the sake of bragging rights that people don't take lightly. It also represents lifelong friendships that were formed around the game, and stirs memories that cross decades and generations.
As the players take the field Friday night, they will be adding one more page to a story that spans those generations. Around them, in the stands, will be men who played in this game five, 10, 20 or more years ago. There will men and women who marched in the teams' bands, or pumped up the crowd as cheerleaders.
There will be more in the air than can be found at your average high school football game, even your average playoff game.
In fact, of all the important contests that will be played around the state this Friday night, we may have the best of them right here in Brewton because of the history involved.
Like the other games, this one will feature two teams fighting it out with everything they've got to make it to the next round.
But unlike most of the others, this game adds another chapter to the history so many in these communities have shared over the years.
Friday night's game is not only something for the community to enjoy. It's also something it should cherish.
It will a night filled with memories of days gone by, thoughts of old friends -- some still with us, some not -- and the recognition of the good things that bind communities like these together.