I imagine most of you have seen the movie Remember the Titans about a public school in Virginia the 1970’s being desegregated and how its football team became a vehicle for positive change.
I watch it every chance I get. There’s a hopeless romantic still inside of me that likes a feel-good movie that actually is based on real events. That and my aunt who is an actress is in it.
It’s rather neat to see her on screen and say, “Hey, I know her.”
We play a clip from the movie before football games that has Denzel Washington’s voice giving a pep talk to his players.
It sounds cliche’, I know. But if you remember, that was an actual team from an actual small town in the south and the local public school was a fundamental part of those kinds of small towns like West is to Clemmons.
West Forsyth is one of those few remaining schools in our area that can be claimed by a small town. It has been that way for three generations. All of 27012 feeds into West along with other surrounding areas of course.
So what happens at West happens to the town. And we are the Titans.
“Family” is a word that you have been using to describe yourselves. It’s on social media and Twitter. It’s also why there is only one name on the back of each jersey to remind you that you are a team, a “family.”
You ladies are a family. Anyone who watches you play sees how you pick each other up, celebrate each other, and refuse to let setbacks keep you from achieving. And you instinctively understand that the power of the team as a whole is more than the sum of the individual parts put together.
Any competitor is disappointed in a loss or less-than-stellar performance. But since March of last year, you have been preparing for this part of the schedule, the season after the season. The real season.
A house is where you keep your belongings. A home is where your family is. Sometimes it is a physical place, sometimes it is metaphorical, but it is always an awareness that you carry with you and keep open for those you care about.
You ladies are family. Have been for a while. Those who cheer for you have seen it. Those you have played against more than know it.
So no matter that color of jersey you wear, you are the “home” team.
There will be a lot of people from your hometown and school to see you play on your “home” court. There will be parents, friends, coaches, students, teachers, and others who may have never played a basketball game in their lives there to watch you play, hopefully for many more games.
And there will be many more following from their homes via social media, texts, phone calls, internet, etc., but expect a crowd at your “home court,” whether it is Simpson Gym or some other hardwood floor.
Baskets are still 10 feet high. Jump stops still will work. Driving to the basket still makes others play defense.
There is no need to tell you that every other team will “remember the Titans.” They’ll know. You will leave it all on the court tonight, Friday, and for the other games.
Just remember that you are the Titans and there will be a very large family gathering when you play.
On our “home court.”
Makes you wonder if we could get a large school flag to wave inside the gym.
Play to win. There is no room to play to not lose.
And as always, it is a joy to be a part of West.