Friends made the team

Published 6:07 am Thursday, October 8, 2009

By Staff
It’s hard not to look at the 1969 T.R. Miller Tigers — who won a state championship after a perfect season — and not draw parallels to this year’s Tigers, who are halfway through the season and sitting atop the polls headed into a tough region matchup with Luverne.
But as many of those former T.R. Miller players recounted in a DVD made especially for their reunion last weekend, the school didn’t always have a winning tradition.
But former players said those losing seasons came to an end when Mack Wood came to Brewton to coach the Tigers, and the 1969 team became the first of six T.R. Miller teams to win state titles.
This year’s players surely feel the pressure to live up to that standard, as they head into week 6 facing a top 10, undefeated Luverne. Fans have planned to pack the stands for the home game wearing black to support the Tigers.
What struck me listening to the 1969 Tigers last weekend as they recounted their high school days is not that they carry so many memories of winning the title, but that they so fondly remember playing together.
Watching players greet each other at the opening tailgate party Friday night was an opportunity to see how close that group of classmates was, not necessarily because they won a state championship but because they were good friends.
While they have certainly not lost the pride that came with being part of a winning tradition, their friendships remain at the forefront of their memories.
Several players on the DVD recalled that running back Greer Horton had a certain tradition all his own for each game.
Any sports program sees the ebb and flow of success over the years. Just in our community alone, when T.R. Miller is having an up year, W.S. Neal might be struggling, as they are this season, or vice versa.
But none of that changes the fact that true friendships are forged on the football field and beyond, and what players learn on the field is not about winning but about persevering in the face of challenges, no matter what the scoreboard says at the end of the game.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at

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