Just in case you were wondering, here’s why we dislike Ducks

I can remember being sat down on the gym floor on the very first day of school as a freshman and being introduced to high school athetics by then-football coach Jim Gray.

While Coach Gray expounded on what he expected from us and what we were in for, the last thing he said was—and he highlighted his point by pointing his thick finger at all of us—“...and whatever you do, don’t lose to Taylor.”

And here’s why.

The rift between the two schools is actually steeped in basketball, believe it or not.

Back in 1964, Rockdale thumped Taylor 50-32 in a bi-district basketball game to move onto the regional tournament.

The next morning after the game, Taylor officials protested the game, saying that the Tigers had used an ineligible player.

In a nutshell, the Tigers had participated in two scrimmages before the bi-district game and those scrimmages contained an extra period so junior varsity players could see some action.

One varsity player participated in the extra periods, thus giving him three games for the week, one over the limit.

Despite the fact that the player did not play in the Taylor game, a University Interscholastic League committee ruled that because he was on the roster, the whole team was ineligible.

Basically, the Ducks waited around to see if they might be able to whip the 26-2 Tigers on the court. When they couldn’t, they ratted them out in the courts to get what they didn’t earn, on a technicality.

And an important footnote here; Tiger coach Duane Vincent— being he kind of man that he was—could have easliy lied about the player, but he was forthcoming, never in his wildest dreams thinking that the extra period would count as a real game.

Hatfield and McCoys move over. The feud was on.

There are administrators, teachers and students who have know idea of the history of hate the two schools have between them.

You freshmen of 2012 should consider yourself lucky. Back in the day, when Rockdale played Taylor, the freshmen were forced to “duck walk” around the gym floor during the pep rally, sometimes while being painted green.

I’m quite sure there would be a onslaught of lawsuits or the ACLU would fill up the RHS lobby if you tried something like that today.

That practice has long-since been outlawed along with actual pep rallies, players name signs in their yards and cheerleaders decorating windows of businesses on one side of town and not stopping until they reached the other end.

During football season, this town used to look like a blueand gold paint bomb had been dropped on it.

And normally, when Taylor came to town, that meant it was homecoming and a huge bonfire was built, in the huge space right next to the baseball field.

My senior year, a fearless group of young men stole the “Home of the Taylor Ducks”- sign off the Taylor football field press box and made sure it was the last thing tossed on the bonfire that night to the elated cheers of hundreds of onlookers.

Again, that timeless tradition has become extinct. Lawsuits, insurance, I guess.

Now because Taylor has moved up and down in class over the past few years and the two teams haven’t faced off in a couple of seasons, the heated rivalry has cooled some what, especially for the current crop of players.

But believe me, the irritation we had for Cameron was miniscule compared to our intense dislike of the Ducks. I’m just saying.

Enjoy the game!

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2012-10-11 digital edition

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