Bulldogs aren’t just a team; they’re a family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 2004

At first glance the Sweet Water Bulldogs look like a football team. All of the elements are there. The coaches, players, equipment and football stadium. But with a closer look you discover much more. If you peel back the outer layers of the Bulldog squad you discover a football family.

So what’s the difference? A lot. A football team practices and plays together. They watch film and come up with strategies together. There is a lot to be said for a good football team.

But it takes even more to be a football family. A football family starts with things you can’t teach. A football family grows up together. Their parents grow up together. And when their hometown school calls they answer the phone and come back. That is Sweet Water football.

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There aren’t a lot of strangers on this team and that begins with the coaching staff. The head coach and his assistants all went to Sweet Water. They understand what Bulldog football means to the community. They have all worn the purple and gold and are grateful to have the opportunity to show the youth of Sweet Water just what that means.

The same can be said for the players. Most of the current Bulldogs have been together since kindergarten. They have been friends and teammates since the days of tee-ball and little league. They have seen the ups and downs in each other’s lives and you can bet they have been there for each other when those down times came. It is such closeness that many of these players can probably finish each other’s thoughts.

Generations of current Sweet Water citizen’s have suited up for the Bulldogs at some time in their lives. A lot of Bulldog players were not even born the last time their school made a trip to the state championship game. In most cases, an 18-year-old championship would not mean much to a high school student.

At Sweet Water they all mean something. These players have grown up hearing about the glory days of Bulldog football. They have hungered for the feeling of coming out on top in the big game. They may not have championship rings on their fingers right now, but they do have 16, 17 and 18 years worth of hunger to get one.

To most people in Sweet Water football is everything. It is a way to let the rest of the state knows the small Marengo County town is out there and produces some pretty good people as well as athletes.

Friday, the Bulldogs will load up six busloads of family and head to a town that is nothing at al like where they come from. No matter what the outcome is one thing is certain. Anyone around the Hoover Met on Friday will remember Sweet Water and their football family for a long time.