By Paul Andrew, Tribune real estate executive
I was saddened to hear that Whittell won’t be playing football this year. This not only affects the players, but the band, cheerleaders, parents and families as well.
Spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon at a high school game with others in the community has always been very positive experience and encourages school pride and spirit.
One of my first experiences watching Whittell was seeing them win the state title in the late 80s. I’ve never seen a more excited group of kids. For such a small school, Whittell consistently produced a winner during those years.
Whittell is where Mike Crawford, after being told he was too small to play as a freshman, led the team to the state championship game during his senior year. Of course, he went on to star for the University of Nevada, then played for the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings. This is a great lesson to kids of how persistence and determination pay off.
At the first football game after September 11th, when the entire country was in shock, local musician Frank Benvenuto played a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on his tenor saxophone. It was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop, as the music echoed through the pines.
Needless to say, it was a very emotional experience.
The homecoming festivities were always a fun event. I was asked to drive one of the floats at halftime a few years ago, mainly because there was no one else to do it. These obviously aren’t Rose Parade floats, but the kids have a blast putting them together and riding them around the track.
With declining enrollment and all the different options that students have available to them, it will be an ongoing challenge to get enough boys committed to represent Whittell on the football field.
We can only hope that we’ll soon be spending our fall Saturday afternoons with family and friends cheering the Warriors on to victory. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.
Paul Andrew is a Tribune real estate executive