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October 24, 2018

I covered the St Marys and Magnolia football game last week, and I just wanted to say a few things about what I saw that I haven't seen in the years I've been covering football games, or when I just was a fan.

The St Marys football players, before and after the game, went to their sideline where their band and student body was sitting, and the band played while the players and student body sang their school's alma mater. It was awesome. I also saw most of the Magnolia crowd standing up as well as when the Magnolia Band played the MHS alma mater right after the National Anthem. It was very classy.

To show school spirit the way they did, even after losing, was icing on the cake for me and said a lot about the fine student body and players. It was nice.

Article Photos

Photo by Bruce Crawford
Pictured are Paul Cain and his wife, along with some other ladies from Bruce Crawford’s church. The women made a quilt for Mr. Cain, who bravely served our country.

I thought to myself how nice it was, and I thought maybe other high schools might do that in the future. It doesn't hurt, and to show your school spirit even in defeat was so sincere. It's similar to how the WVU Mountaineers participate in singing Country Roads.

The game of football is changing with calling a penalty for leading with your head. It's 99.5 percent free in the high school level, that I can see, but maybe it's more everywhere else. I know for a fact that Hundred, Magnolia, Paden City, River and Valley football coaches teach the kids the proper way to tackle.

Back in the day then-MHS Head Coach Dave Cisar called me and told me the coaches had tried and tried to break one of my son's bad habits on how to make a tackle. He was leading with his head almost every time, and the coach was worried my son might get hurt badly if he tackled hard that way.

The coach said maybe he needs to play a different sport, so he did. My son was not mad, nor my wife. I just wanted my son to enjoy his high school days and play what sports he wanted to. So he went into cross country and ran for Wayne Fetty.

I knew Wayne well. My mom and dad were friends of the Fetty family. Wayne and I were both ushers for one of my deepest and dearest friends, Mike Powell.

I enjoyed going to all the cross country meets and heard Coach Fetty yelling and encouraging his runners to pick it up. He knew who he could yell at to make them run what they could run, most of the time.

I miss Coach Fetty along with some other outstanding coaches, like all my River Pilot coaches and most of my son's coaches.

I was upset that we couldn't have chosen more coaches and athletes in our recent feature that named the top 25 athletes and five coaches. Martin Flannery as well as Coaches Matsakis, West, and Sullivan I truly admired as football coaches. There were many more coaches I admired greatly.

Besides Coach Cisar and Coach Fetty, there was Greg Swords, as well as Craig Schneid, Fred King, Dave Tallman, and Bob Ripley too. The list is long; almost every coach my sons had, and that I later covered, thought more about the kids as their family.

I remember when I was working in the coal mine and was an officer in the Magnolia Boosters, I got laid off. It was hard, but Coach Tallman went out of his way to find me some work mowing grass to help me and to keep me from moving.

That has stuck to me as well as Dave "Doc" Chapman and his family, but one of the greatest families had to be Charles and Karen Robinson, along with their son, Chup, and daughter, Andrea. Chup helped me out when I was in charge of the Grasshopper Basketball League as a referee, while Andrea was one of my many great players that played for me in soccer. She scored, I believe, some 45 goals in one season. I took her out many times because she was so good, but we don't like to rub it in the other team members' faces, and she and her parents - along with Chup - never ever said anything about taking their daughter out so she could score more points. With all the goals and assists she had, she didn't get to play in the sectionals because she broke a bone in a game we played at Blue Field. The bone was sticking out through her socks.

Her mom, Karen, was seated on top of a hill, far from where Andrea broke her ankle but beat me to her on the field, I know now that is where Andi got her speed - from her mother. They all were super people, and I know I can talk about many, many more - including Sarah Forbes, Rachel Pavlisin, Liza Snyder and Valerie Clark... with the list going on and on.

I better stop, because I will start getting emotional about all the nice kids and their families I had the pleasure to coach, but I do want to say if Andi would have not have had her ankle break, she would have been right up there with Mallory Chapman at Magnolia.

Chup was a great kid too and he played the game they way I like to see kids play and that is give a 100 percent at practice and during games.

I guess none from my graduating class read my story a couple weeks ago to send me a picture of our 45-year class reunion, but I'm praying they still will, and list all the names. We have all changed that much in 45 years after graduating high school.

One last thing, the picture in my column is of Paul Cain and his wife with several ladies from our church who got together and put together three beautiful quilts so far for three great men that served in combat, while serving our country. That is quite a nice thing these women have done. I know there are many more people out there that have done nice things for other people like Paul. Please send me pictures and a little story about what they done, and I hope we can keep this going and going and going. We have so many people in our community that are doing a great service. I know we are not suppose to show what we do, but we need to show without making a big thing out of it.



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