Altar Call - Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
Sunday, August 26, 2001

Are you ready for some football?

The other night my wife refused to give me the remote. "No, I will find something for us to watch," she said with authority. As she flipped from one channel to another, suddenly there it was - a football game! Stunned, she gasped, "Donít tell me football season has started again!"

Quickly she pushed the remote again. I never did figure out which two teams were playing. That night we watched an old movie together. And I was in a thankful mood, quite grateful that at least we were not watching some guy showing us how to install new tile in a bathroom.

The Monday night broadcast of NFL football games has begun! I can remember years ago, as we were raising our four sons, that we usually watched the first half of the games on Monday nights before tucking them in bed. We loved football. All four of the boys started playing football at age eight and continued through high school.

When we could afford it we attended the games at Auburn University. Back then Mamma and I could actually walk up into the "nose bleed" section. But no more. Now we enjoy remembering some happy times we shared with the boys on many Saturday afternoons.

Now Auburn and all our favorite college teams are gearing up to begin the new season. And a few Saturdays Mamma and I will decline an invitation to attend some of the home games with our sons and their children. Staying home to watch the game on television is a temptation that I find hard to resist, even though there is nothing like the experience of "being there" in person.

But when it comes to football, there is nothing quite like high school football. In my book that is the best football of all. Once again this fall I expect to be walking the sidelines beside the coaches and the Opelika Bulldogs. There is nothing quite like it - sharing the anticipation of making it to Birmingham to play for the state championship in early December.

Head Coach Spence McCracken came to Opelika with that goal in mind, to help the Bulldogs win a state championship. Each year the team gets a little closer in the playoffs to compete for that coveted championship ring. Each year for six years I have believed we were going to make it, and each year with the team I have endured the agonizing disappointment of a late season defeat that knocked us out of the playoffs.

How do I feel about the teamís chances this year? I believe we are going to go all the way to Birmingham and win the state championship. Is that merely the team chaplainís optimism? Well, it is that, but it is based on more than optimism. When I am around the coaches and the team I sense that they believe this is Opelikaís year. That feeling is strong, and it has to be there for a team to become winners.

There is more behind my optimism. I believe Will Herring may be the best quarterback in the state this year, that Sajason Findley will emerge as one of the top running backs in Alabama, and that Tommy Jackson will earn All-American honors as a lineman. The great thing is that these three young men are not "glory hogs." They have the kind of attitude that can inspire their teammates to become the best team OHS has ever had.

I canít wait to see it begin to happen. Bring it on! When the Bulldogs run onto the field, and the music starts blaring with "Who let the Dogs out?," my adrenalin starts pumping and I am indeed ready for some football, Opelika style. If you have not been in awhile, come on out and let me wave to you from the sidelines. You canít believe how much fun it is!