Football teams – opponents, friends

Published 8:54 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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An Editorial Opinion of The Greenville Advocate

Area schools are preparing to kick off football season. Some private schools began play on Friday, and most public schools are set to begin Aug. 25 or Sept. 1.

As coaches help players ready themselves to face off on the gridiron by inspiring them with a hunger to win, several have proven they can be friends off the field and work together for the good of their student-athletes.

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The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a similar event recently. Coaches Corner brought together Butler County coaches, athletes, and administrators to field questions from local media about the upcoming seasons.

Greenville High School, Mckenzie School, Georgiana School, and Fort Dale Academy players and coaches came together to talk about Butler County sports. Coach Gabriel Pimienta from Greenville, sat next to coaches Eric Folmar from Fort Dale, Brian Bradford from McKenzie, and Berry Bess of Georgiana and highlighted the bright spots of the community’s football teams.

Assistant coaches, family members, school administrators and friends gathered at Beeland Park to enjoy a meal and celebrate their local teams. There was no animosity, no harsh words, no postering — just an extended community supporting student athletes in eager anticipation of the upcoming football season.

The Lowndes Signal partnered with the Lowndes County Public Schools Athletic Program and local NBC affiliate WSFA to host a similar event, the inaugural Lowndes County Football Media Day on Aug. 17. The effort brought together head coaches, athletic directors and top players from all three Lowndes County high schools to talk football and highlight athletic programs in “the 45.”

Lowndes Academy head coach Shane Moye came to the table, joining The Calhoun School head coach Ervin Starr, and Central High School’s Corvin Johnson to highlight their programs’ strengths, points for growth and key players who are leaders on and off the field.

Student-athletes and coaches sat next to each other, rivals next to their opponents and some side-by-side who never meet on the field.

The camaraderie displayed was inspiring — everyone equal, talking about their hard work and hopes for the season. Coaches who describe how their team will ‘bring the pain” during “hunting season” laughed together across cookies and sandwiches. 

Student-athletes who square off against each other at the 45 Classic talked freely with their peers from the Alabama Independent School Association.

Everyone gathered with one goal in mind — highlighting area athletic programs. Rivalries were laid at the door in the best interest of the young people for whom the whole idea of high school athletics was designed.

Not every county can boast cordial relations among rival teams or between schools separated by the words “public” or “private.”

Greenville Newspapers staff were excited to partner in both events and to provide coverage of our student-athletes. Organizers of the Lowndes media day are floating ideas to expand the event to include all schools from Butler, Lowndes, and Crenshaw counties in an effort focused on bringing recognition and exposure to talented youths learning leadership and teamwork on the football fields on which they play.

It is a pleasure to highlight cooperative efforts and to be part of the work designed to benefit our children.