Angie Ledbetter column

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 19, 2008

Community needs healing over lost football game

What a year I’ve had covering the South Panola Tiger football team. It was an awesome ride all the way to Jackson and I cherish every single moment.

The players, coaching staff, managers, statisticians, radio crew, trainers, cheerleaders, band, superintendent, principal, and all the fans, thank you for everything you put into the football season.

It all started in the spring, the actual night being May 13. The Tigers played Lafayette County High School and came out on the short side. Yes, it was a scrimmage, but it meant something because the Tigers learned from it. From that day forward, I saw what every single player and coach put into the football program.

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When I started covering the Tigers, I was nervous about learning names of so many players and coaches. I had covered them, sparingly, in the past. Covering my alma mater was a challenge for me but it was an easy transition because of the players and coaches.

Each welcomed me with open arms. I know they were all used to Myra, who was now covering North Panola football, and her way of doing things and she knew the important things about the players and coaches.

Players have given me so many special Friday nights that I will remember forever. Some gave me more grey hair, too. Those close games like Tupelo, I could not tell if I was still breathing or not after that failed two-point conversion play by Tupelo.

Each player was always willing to talk to me after the games no matter if it was 95 degrees, pouring down rain or 40 degrees.

I thank Coach Lance Pogue for all he did to help me with information on the team and each game. The Tiger world is blessed to have him and his family.

I dealt with some of the assistant coaches more than others and thank them for the wonderful job that each did this season.

The stat guys, Otis Griffin and Robert Shegog, I could not have done without. They answered a lot of questions but never complained. They do a great job.

The radio crew is the best that I have ever heard. I had the privilege of being in the press box when my doctor would not allow me on the sideline. They made me feel at home, and the entire crew does an awesome job.

Tiger fans are the best fans in Mississippi and are always there on Friday night cheering them on.

The team may have made some mistakes but I can assure you no one hurt more than they did. I saw first hand how they hurt after losing the state championship game. I saw many tears shed, heads beating the ground and helmets on the ground.

I was at a loss for words not because we lost but because I saw the hurt and pain on their faces.

If we were all coaches, then there would be no fans in the stands.

As the Christmas holiday season approaches, let us remember the reason for the season. The birth of Jesus is the reason we celebrate the holiday.

He forgives us for any number of our sins. Can we not forgive the team for one loss?

Also find someone and tell them you love them and go beyond your duty to help someone who is in need during these hard times.

I end this with a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.