Thursday, August 25, 2011

The last pure sport... High school sports...

I have cut and pasted this from an earlier blog about the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline... Good Morning America's vote for the most beautiful spot in the County.  That is pretty impressive!   I wanted to fast forward to my thoughts on what I will call "the last  pure sport" in high schools sports.  After watching professional sports as a fan for years... I have grown tired of the "drama" that ESPN would like you to think is keeping the world spinning on it's axis!  Collegate sports has become so corrupt that is almost a given that any winning program today is cheating or has not yet been caught!   Just last week I turned OFF Sports Center out of disgust for the endless coverage of school after school... program after program... being hit with fines, suspensions, and irrevocations of records.    I don't care about Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds shooting up in the butt cheek!  Buy the way... if your an athletic trainer... do you really have to do that? 

So.. it is with that in the past... that I look forward to the future of this season of .... Pure Michigan High School Sports!  

......Last thing on the M 24 thing for now.... I was pleased and honored to attend a community happening last evening in the newly refreshed Children's Park in Down town Lake Orion.  The DDA decided to hold a pep rally in the park to acknowledge the participants in the fall sports programs through the Lake Orion High School district.  As I sat in the middle of this beautiful park.... I thanked God for being brought to such a special place and time.   The scene was nothing short of a movie set... small town America... families sprawled out on the newly placed rock wall and grassy spaces.... gazebo in center stage... clean fresh water flowing over the damn and into a winding river with mother ducks tending to the now maturing ducklings... really no different than the proud parents tending to their babies who are now almost ready to leave the nest!

Seriously... It was a great moment and I could not have been prouder of my children in Alex, Julia, Amanda and Molly.  Julia is a volleyball player dedicated to a sport like no other.  She is bumping and setting out on the driveway and has become a master.  In fact... one of my favorite memories from this months vacation will be the time as a family we spent.... yes... in the clean fresh waters along the Lake Michigan shore line.... bumping... and setting in the waves... Pure Michigan... Let's not forget to give props to the Lake Orion Dragon Football Team.  My son Alex is a senior this year and they will begin the defense of their Division I State Championship next week.

Now the tie in.... M 24 connects Orion to Oxford with a mile or so long patch of highway.  But the connections run much deeper.  You see year ago... way back in another time... this was a rivalry like no other.  It was bad... and bitter.  So much so.... that the powers that be decided it could not continue and was split right down the middle.  Thrown away and the door slammed... for over 25 years the Oxford Wildcats went their way to the Flint league.... and the Lake Orion Dragons did their thing in the Oakland Athletic League.  Time went by and both communities kind of co-existed.   Kind of tolerating each other.   Time passed... the economy expanded... people went on the move... and because of the unique qualities of these "sleepy, little, bed-room" communities... people flocked to the area to "Live, Work, Play...."  and the businesses soon followed... which allowed the newbies settling in to take their hard earned dollars to "Shop, Dine, and Stay..." .  They brought their families to the Lakes, Rivers, and trails.... they "Celebrated" what they had found... and hurried home from work because they had discovered that they had moved to a place "Where living was indeed....a vacation....".

Someone.... I suppose now grown and mature or perhaps someone who moved to the area... not knowing or caring about the past history.... suggested... "Why don't we get the Oxford and Orion kids back together again for a little football game?"  The conversation was started and before you knew it... it happened.  Renewal of a Rivalry.... and Oxford came to Lake Orion for the first game in 25 years.

Rivalry Renewed!  This year the game will be in Oxford and the Wild Cats have their own special "Celebration" this year.  You see... some Cat's don't take "NO" for an answer.  My friend Ron Davis is the big cat who would not except NO.  The voters said NO two times at the poles to the vision of "Blue Turf" in the Cat stadium.  No does not mean know to Big Cat Ron!  He and a group of supporter formed the Blue Turf Committee.  This group was locked and focused on one thing... raising seed money to privately get the Turf stadium.  When you look at the business case... it surely makes great sense.  A modern synthetic turf hold up the punishment laid down by the pounding cleats of football, lacrosse, soccer.  It makes for a smooth surface for the marching band, flag football, and all levels from varsity down to pee wee.  It is a money maker if you can get the people on board.  Ron got it done....some how... he raised enough seed money... and attracted the interest from a mysterious third party who offered up what became known as a new term in a "loan-ation".  That would be a donation to the turf through the extension of a loan.  The voters did agree through a bond to offer up new soil, seed, and irrigation...  When Davis and his group showed the business case to the Oxford Community Schools Board... they could not turn down the deal...  AND the turf came to be.

So... I have set the stage for "The Battle of the Blue Turf" and "Rivalry Renewed.. Round Two" . The Cats got the blue turf... the Dragons got the Division I State Title to defend.  This is a high school AD's dream come true!  In fact... the hype is huge... rumors of ESPN coming to cover the game... Air force Jet fly overs... Bud Rowley going with something other than glaring Cat Yellow pants this year... RUMORS ABOUND!

To celebrate the renewal of this rivalry, Blue Turf install, and the defense of a D I Title... we have created a collect able and iconic Rally Towel.   In fact... last evening we donated over 200 plus rally towels to players at all levels in the Lake Orion program.  We intend to do the same for the Oxford Wild Cats later this week.

Proceeds from the sale of this collectible souvenir will go to support both programs.  Get um early because we have just over 1,000 left for an expected crowed of  8,000 to 12,000 fans!  Are you ready for some football?