A few words about turf, a banquet and a Christmas wish

Sunday, December 23, 2012

As of today, there is barely one week left in 2012. My how time flies the older you get.

During the past week there have been several things to happen, and while next week's words will actually be the ones of looking back at all the things that happened in the local sports world, why not go ahead and get a head start.

I've said it before, but do you all not feel a sense of pride at just how fortunate we are to have such fantastic sports programs at our local schools?

The pride was never more evident than on Thursday night as I walked into the Sportsplex at DHS for the annual football banquet.

Throughout the year, when seasons come to an end, usually there will be banquets to attend as awards are handed out and players are talked about with the highest regard.

Though I thought the banquet would have been held a month or so ago, when the Trojan banquet was over I was reminded that it's better late than never.

During most banquets one can hear lots of chatter throughout the event, but on Thursday there was a lot more listening being done than there was talking, and for good reason.

My good friend fellow co-worker Charles Dawson always does a very good job of emceeing just about any type of banquet that is hosted by DHS, and Thursday was no different.

The man can get you excited about football when the season doesn't start for 8 more months, just as he did on Thursday.

However, I couldn't help myself from getting just a bit more excited when Director of City Schools Neel Durbin stepped up to the podium to share a few words. Though I kind of knew what was coming, it was still exciting to hear the speech all the same.

A few weeks ago I had a two-hour conversation, or interview if you will, with Durbin about the continuation of renovations at the high school. There have already been several updates completed at the high school, and I was there to talk about the next one in line. I was there to talk about a donation given for the proposed turf at J.C. Sawyers stadium, but I left with more information than most can imagine.

Did it slip by you? Yes, I said turf, and yes it will happen. Not to give too much away because I'm still working on the story, but Durbin's efforts should be welcomed by all that have anything to do with the city school system.

Whether it's dealing with the past, present or future, the man has his hands firmly placed on what is best for the entire city school system.

Durbin knows there will be naysayers when it comes to turfing the field. When the phase is complete, and it will be, the benefits will be endless. It's about being cost effective, and judging by our conversation, the man is all about saving money. It will take spending quite a bit on order to start saving, but the project is worthy of support and hopefully this time next year the stadium surface will be green from January to December and never have to be mowed again..

Now, back to the banquet.

The capacity crowd in attendance got to hear a lot about the football program. A few years ago I was one believing the program was on a downhill spiral and unraveling somewhat out of control.

It pleases me today to say I was wrong.

Listening to assistant coach Randy Newsome talk about what it took to be a part of the program, listening to him talk about building character kids such as Jeremy Maze as his voice began to break with emotion, he had me and I'm assuming everyone else right there.

Coaches that care and act as mentors to the young men are the ones that we should all support. Head coach Bart Stowe and his entire staff cares about each and every one of those young men that with so much pride don the Trojan uniform each and every Friday night during the season.

If you weren't at the banquet the words may not matter, but to those that were, well, you get what I'm saying.

Dyersburg lost 22 seniors in 2011. In 2012, the team didn't fall flat and whine about it, they went out and won 9-of-11 games.

They showed character and despite what many felt would be a rebuilding season, they captured the hearts of many and earned the respect of many as well, including the local sportswriter.

It doesn't matter which school you are a fan of, there's room for cheering for all involved. We should all try and show a little better character and move forward to move ahead of the past and strive for a better future.

Last week I talked about the Lady Choctaw basketball team, while this week something about Dyersburg. They're both great schools that deserve all the credit we can give. I wish all would join me in cheering for both schools in what already looks to be an even greater 2013.

That's what I want for Christmas. Can I get an amen?

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas everyone.

Your comments are welcome at msmith@stategazette.com

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