You say that you are passionate about the issues and that you care about the community in which you live — but are you willing to prove it?
When called upon when you are needed the most, are you willing to step up and be counted?
Are you willing to do your part to ensure that truth, justice and the American way prevails over opposing forces?
I only ask because, in the course of the next few days, you will be called upon to make one of the most important decisions of your life. We all like to think we are being supportive and doing our part, but are we really? How many times have you been “too busy” or “too occupied” or “just plain forgot” when the big day came?
Many of you will claim you always take part in one of the greatest American rites of passage, but the numbers would prove otherwise. The figures have shown, particularly in recent years, we haven’t been showing up the way we should. The numbers don’t lie, folks. Speaking only for myself, I can honestly saw that in the past 20 years, I have never missed an opportunity to make my voice heard.
But in the next few days, all of those past transgressions — all of the missed opportunities to show what you truly believe in — can be washed away. You have the opportunity, just by showing up, to cast your vote for the party you claim you so fervently support. Actually, you can do it twice — and there won’t be anyone who can stop you.
That’s right, this Friday night at Troy Memorial Stadium, it’s time you show up and support the Troy High School football team in their Division II playoff game. And, in an unprecedented feat, you can show up at Troy Christian High School the next night and support the Troy Christian football in their Division VII playoff game.
Well, what in the heck did you think I was talking about?
You know, growing up in Troy and fully immersing myself in the culture of our fine city for the past four decades, I have heard Troy referred to as a “football town” thousands of times throughout my lifetime. While I wasn’t there for many of the golden days of Ferguson and Myers and Vaughn and Bell and Walker, I have heard stories of Troy Memorial Stadium being so packed you couldn’t have fit in another human being with a shoehorn and a can of WD-40.
And I have seen it myself, in the heyday of Brewer and Dielman, when you had to show up at least three hours before the game started and wait in line just to get a sliver of bench seating.
But I’ve also seen the stadium barely half full (or was it half empty?) when the Trojans were having down — or even .500 — years. It often made me wonder, was Troy truly a “football town” or was it just a “winning town.” It’s easy to support a team during the good times, but it’s the bad times that truly test a fan’s soul.
At this point, though, I’m willing to look past all of that, mostly because of the tremendous opportunity we have before us this weekend. As you may have noticed, the Troy football team has been having a pretty magical season — as is the Troy Christian football team. Both teams went 9-1 this season and both were just a play here or a play there from finishing the regular season undefeated.
Don’t get me wrong, attendance has been very good this season — but I think we can do better.
Now they are both hosting playoff games. It will be Troy’s first home playoff game since 2000 and just the third in school history. It will be the first home playoff game for Troy Christian in school history. This is a call for everyone who lives in Troy and claims to be a football fan to show up and support both — or, at the very least, one — of those teams.
Troy plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Troy Christian plays at 7 p.m. Saturday, so there is no conflict there. Regardless of whether they win or lose, this will be the final home game for both teams. If they lose, the season is over. If they win, the next round of games all will be played at neutral sites.
These young men have spent the past year working every day for this opportunity. The very least we can do is show up and give them unconditional support — win or lose. I hope to see both stadiums packed to capacity on game night. We owe to them as football players and we owe it to ourselves as a “football town.”
It’s our civic duty to get out and support these teams.
Oh … and don’t forget to vote on Nov. 8, too.
Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News. Contact him at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong