Column for 3-6

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 8, 2004

Upon witnessing last year’s Demopolis High Lady Tigers softball team win its first state championship, another Lady Tigers team decided that they too wanted to know what it truly feels like to be the best in the state. And today they are just one game shy of accomplishing that task.

In case you haven’t heard, and judging by the attendance records, you haven’t. The DHS Lady Tigers basketball team is but one win away from winning their first ever Class 4A state championship.

Wednesday the Lady Tigers defeated the Madison County Lady Tigers 52-47 in the AHSAA Class 4A Final Four to advance to their first appearance in the state finals.

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With five coverage teams in the Final Four, I have been spending most of my time this week in Birmingham. I was amazed to see how many fans from schools like Calera, Pisgah, Madison County and Altamont came out in support of their teams.

It’s even more amazing when you look at the size of these schools. Three of the four are all 2A schools, but still managed to bring out three to four hundred fans. Madison County had over 500 fans in attendance to support their Lady Tigers Wednesday when they took on Demopolis.

But the Demopolis fan base was a bit weak. Not nearly as poor as other West Alabama teams like Livingston, R. C. Hatch and Sumter County, but still weak. In Wednesday’s Final Four, Demopolis fans showed the most fan support they have this season for the Lady Tigers, but still didn’t have enough students to spell out Demopolis.

Madison County’s student section was over 300 strong with each and every one dressed in school colors. They looked like a crowd at a Duke/ North Carolina game on ESPN.

Everywhere you looked there would be kids in bright yellow with signs and banners and funny looking wigs and costumes. It kind of reminded me of Mardi Gras, which I missed this year because I was with the Lady Tigers as they began their journey to Birmingham. But seeing this team come together and win two games in Mobile, which they haven’t been able to do in over six years, and now win in the final four and make their first appearance in the state finals beats any trip to New Orleans during carnival time.

But it was like this for all of these schools this week. Having a student body present at a big game like this really lets a team know how proud the rest of the school is of their accomplishment.

Now I can understand that many students from Demopolis couldn’t get away on a Wednesday night to drive all the way to Birmingham, but would anything have stopped DHS students or fans from making that same drive on the same night in December to watch the DHS Tigers football team compete in their first ever state final.

If this were football season, this town would be painted blue and white. These girls have worked hard to get to where they are and right now they need support from their friends, family, teachers and most importantly their student body. It’s time to get crazy and pull out the most outrageous blue and white costume you can find. Maybe it’s too late now (since the girls play today at 10 a.m.), but wouldn’t it be nice if this town had painted itself blue and white, or – this one is just for the boys – spell out one of the girl’s names across your chest with some friends.

It doesn’t matter what you do, but it sure would be nice to arrive in Birmingham this morning and find a blue sea of Demopolis High fans.