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Our community must ‘play’ as true team

Tanks Memorial Stadium is packed. The Million Dollar Marching Band has left the field.

Those unlucky enough to have an assigned seat, or any seat at all, willingly surround the endzones, happy just to be present.

The tailgaters are high and the parents of the teenage boys playing are even higher.

Its playoff time in Ironton and the electricity in the air stomps out the bitter cold.

For one night, we all agree on the exact same thing.

We are proud to be Tigers.

Two hours later, we celebrate or commiserate, depending upon the outcome of the game. The armchair coaches spin their yarns the next day, dissecting third down play calls and defensive alignment schemes.

Small town life tied to high school sports provides instant conversation, even among adversaries.

Then Monday comes along and we start blind-siding each other once again. Camaraderie is forgotten. Life is a business, not a game.

I’m visualizing myself standing under center, looking our opponent in the face. The sad and scary part is, the faces I see staring back at me are the very ones who claim to be members of my own team. Suddenly, I realize how Rich Blankenship feels.

He’s the one we elected to run this team, but we’ve stacked the defense against him. He doesn’t have a chance to move the ball if we keep tipping our plays.

And that goes for any quarterback, or mayor. If his teammates aren’t behind him; if the left tackle misses his block, or the wide receiver runs a wrong route, it’s the quarterback who gets stuffed and ultimately takes the blame.

The team loses as one unit, but judgment for that loss is always meted out on one lone individual.

We are the blockers, but are we doing our jobs? We are the receivers, but are we running the designed routes?

Football, thanks to Bob Lutz and his die-hard belief in discipline, is sacred in this town. It brings us together every autumn.

But what about the rest of the year?

Do we have the discipline to succeed as a team beyond a single season?

Like him or not, Rich Blankenship is our mayor. We voted him in overwhelmingly over his competition for a reason.

What was that reason?

I’m sure if you ask Bob Lutz about legacies, he will tell you he didn’t build his in two years. I’m also certain that he wouldn’t have used a playbook (aka, our current political landscape) over and over if it didn’t work.

Through trial and error, he found a formula that works.

How long are we going to keep running the same plays?

Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at hollandkat3@aol.com.