I am the mother of two fine sons. We live in a football town but my boys played basketball. This town functions only on the success of the high school football teams. If the football team doesn’t win state, the town people mourn until the next season ends, and the playoff berth places them number one again. Nothing in-between matters.
No other sport gets the attention or notoriety football gets here. Girls’ sports really gets the shaft, and living in the shadow of football is hard work.
My family is almost as passionate about basketball as the Artesia majority is about the long ball, but basketball has few followers. Still, when graduation saw our boys excel with academic scholarships, I felt they were better qualified for the next step in their future than most of the football biggies they graduated with. They both live in cities with good jobs and have met challenges I could never master and I feel their high school experiences made this possible.
Orange bulldog flags fly downtown at each merchant’s store for every football game. I think they should fly for every sport, every game, and for every student who participates in school activities. Whoa! That attitude is a big no-no. A few people with more clout and positions than I have or had, agree, but to no avail.
Once an ex-bulldog player told me, “I have sons so they can play Bulldog football, and my blood bleeds orange.”
“My blood bleeds red as it is supposed to do.“ This didn’t bring smiles to his face.
As new comers move into our town, some like the football atmosphere and some feel as my husband and I feel, but the ole saying of...you can’t fight city hall...is an absolute fact. You are considered a trouble maker or a person who has big time issues and problems. It has taken me twenty-four years to learn that my opinion and my fight against the system, have not gained me any popularity and never will so it is time to shut up.
Each month, my husband and I attend the meeting and meal for the retired teachers. It is an enjoyable evening and we love the association with them. This month the greeter was dressed in Artesia Bulldog colors, orange and black, from head to toe. It is their tradition on football Fridays.
“My, you are looking orange and black today.“ I said to her as Pat paid for our meal. I looked down at my attire realizing I had the opposing team’s colors on and smiled. All those years of rebellion still lived inside me.
“Yes, my son is number 62. He plays on the junior varsity as well as the varsity team.”
“Yes, we love it.” Her face was aglow, and her straw hat with a large orange brim and bow, almost covered the smile on her face. She was born and raised here, a homegrown who had returned so her boys could play Artesia football.
We turned to walk to our table. I’m healing I thought as I sit down. I didn’t even want to make a nasty comeback. I no longer have the desire to prove there’s more to life than Artesia football. I was proud I could keep calm, emotionally. Years before, my football frustrations would have shown by rolling my eyes up in my head or a sign loud enough for all to hear. My insides weren’t even ruffled.
My husband was proud of me too.
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