Schools just need to play the game
Published 5:59 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2007
OK, time for someone to say “uncle.” Scheduling conflicts between T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal have threatened what is widely considered Alabama's greatest high school football rivalry - the Battle of Murder Creek.
For anyone who lives in Brewton or East Brewton, not playing the 62nd game in the series next fall would be a travesty. Fans live for the game every year; it's bigger than homecoming and the Iron Bowl together.
Folks outside Brewton might wonder what the big deal is. After all, it's just a football game. Sure, there's a big tradition, but if the teams can't play for one year, what difference does it really make in the long run?
It makes a lot of difference in an area most local fans probably haven't even considered - the bottom line.
Neal and Miller make more money from the “gate” of the Battle of Murder Creek - the ticket sales - than any other football game during their seasons. That money funds the athletic program - not just the football teams, but the baseball, softball and tennis teams. Those sports can't survive on their own, and they rely on football earnings to help get through the year.
Sports are an integral part of high school life - and not just so fans can go nuts over a football game once a year. Athletics make a difference in the lives of so many students, especially those who need the structure and discipline that comes from looking up to a coach and working with teammates.
The Battle of Murder Creek is important because it's a tradition, but it's even more important because of the impact its revenue makes on the lives of our students.
Miller and Neal fans may think the schools owe it to them to make sure there's a game next year, but, more important, school officials owe it to the athletes of every sport.
Play in Week 1. Play in Week 10. Play in the parking lot some Saturday afternoon. Just play the game.
Whoever gives in and finally schedules the game doesn't lose - he ensures that the schools, the community and especially the players win.