Friday night lights bring unity

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 15, 2007

I grew up in a small Mississippi town that loved football. This is no surprising to me, being as though football was almost the only thing to do without driving an hour to the movies. So, all the schools in my home county made a big to do over the sport and took it to the extremes.

We fed our boys cornbread and trained them from pee wee on up to bring home a victory, while trying to instill pertinent life lessons about character along the way.

From spring practice to summer two-a-days, football fans from the area flocked to the practice field to scope out the team for their upcoming season. All the hype grew in anticipation of the opening game, to see what the team was made of.

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I have found a lot of these same characteristics since moving to Alabama. I have also learned quickly that you have to make a choice about what team you support, Alabama or Auburn; there is no in between.

Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending Demopolis High School&8217;s first home football game of the season. The atmosphere reminded me of my past and the excitement in the air radiated. The stands were full and the crowd was energized with support for the Tigers.

It was great to look through the crowd and see blue and white Tiger fans from throughout the community.

This was my first Tiger football game to attend. Unfortunately, I missed the regular football season last year. So, I haven&8217;t relished in the DHS game night events before.

The gate attendants, like most all of Demopolis City Schools, welcomed me with a warm smile and told me and the rest of my crew they were glad to have us.

As an avid football fan I immediately jumped into watching the game. I began cheering along with the Tiger crowd for the Tigers to make a comeback. I even did some yelling at calls the referees made I didn&8217;t quite agree with. (A sideline violation&8230;. who ever heard of such in high school ball!) Even with a struggling time for the Tigers, questionable calls by the referees and over crowding, I enjoyed the game almost as much as I enjoyed games of my past, in my hometown.

Regardless of the spectators reasoning for attending the game, whether it was watching the band or cheerleaders perform, supporting your home team or stopping in to grab a grilled burger, Memorial Stadium was filled with people with a common interest of enjoying the Friday night lights.

Gennie Phillips is the managing editor of The Times. She can be reached by e-mail to