Last night, for the first time since 1996, our high school Alma Mater played a football game against their traditional arch-rival. The series had been on hiatus because the two schools had become vastly different sizes for most of the intervening years. Our school's population had shrunk precipitously while our rival's numbers had grown dramatically. In fact, there was a distinct possibility that old Alma Mater would close, owing to declining population and expanding expenses.
Fortunately, over the last decade or so, the slide was halted, the school began to re-emphasize the religious aspect of their educational program, and a rejuvenation began. Class sizes have increased, and although there are not as many students attending as did back in our days, the increase has been steady, and fiscal management sound, and the school is on a solid footing again.
Unsurprisingly, there has also been an uptick in the athletic fortunes of the school, and they have become a recognized power in several sports.The agreement to begin playing their arch-rival again in football was a big step forward for the program.
Prior to last night, our rivals had a 29-3 series lead. I was one of the few people who could truthfully state I had seen every victory by old Alma Mater over the detested maroon-and-gold.
I was not in attendance last night; I was at another football game matching the two schools from our community in which the "old" school had won all five football games vs the "new" school. Seemingly the entire community was there. Extra stands had been brought in, but it was still standing room only. Mrs. North and I had two of the Sweeties with us, and we managed to hunker down on the track behind a temporary fence to (try to) watch the game. A large number of non-involved people standing on the sidelines next to the team made it almost impossible to see much. We stayed through halftime to let the Sweeties see the two marching bands, and then we left.
Perhaps I started a new "streak" last night: the "new" school won 37-0. For now, I am one of at least 10,000 who have seen every football win by the Panthers over the Tigers.
If there was someone in attendance at the Hawks' game that has now seen each of the now 4 wins by Alma Mater in the series, please keep it up! It is a record I will gladly surrender to you.