Small-town spirit: Passionate fans compete with country

Published 4:40 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Check in on Facebook at any time of day in Brewton lately, and you’ll get a reminder to vote.
As just about everyone in our community knows, the voting is for the best rivalry in the South — a title that would put the Battle of Murder Creek in the running for the best high school rivalry in the country.
The contest, sponsored by USA Today, has our game pitted against 10 others, but none so closely as a game between two parochial schools in Louisville, Ky. These two games are neck and neck as the voting is set to end today.
The folks at St. Xavier and Trinity apparently like to brag that their game attracts more than 30,000 people to a huge stadium every year. One fan of that rivalry even said that Neal and Miller must be cheating to be in contention with them for the best rivalry in the South.
Such a shame they underestimate the power of our fans — and the power of a small town.
Where else would people line the streets for miles just to see our high school bands and local organizations lead Santa in the Christmas parade? (So what if some of them were there hoping to get free toilet paper from Georgia-Pacific again — they enjoyed the floats, too.)
Where else could you find the kind of volunteers — of all generations — like those at First United Methodist Church, who are giving their time to read to students at Brewton Elementary School? Or Lisa McMillan, who for the third year in a row will feed people for free on Christmas Day? Or the family trusts that have helped build this town from the beginning?
Our rivalry should be a point of pride for our community — not because it engenders any true animosity but because it proves just how passionate our fans can be.
And it’s amazing that a little Internet contest can bring us together. It is, of course, about more than bragging rights: Each school would win $5,000 if the Battle of Murder Creek wins the nationwide recognition as the best rivalry.
But it’s also a chance to prove that our little community is big in spirit — of all kinds.

Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at
867-4876 or by e-mail at kerry.bean@brewton