Post-season run is great boost for a community that really needed one

This isn’t going to be one of those small-town, rah-rah, Go Tigers, win state, we’re proud of you, exclamation point, editorials.

Wait a minute. Yes it is.

Go Tigers. Win state. We’re proud of you!

Extremely proud and extremely grateful. Of course all of us who live in, and care about, our town, businesses, schools, neighbors, families and friends would be totally behind you any time but in the fall of 2017 we really needed something positive to rally around and you’re providing it.

Eight weeks ago this community was dealt a body blow when its largest industry, and employer, announced it was pulling up stakes, ending a 60-year era in which power generating was a major driver in Rockdale’s economy.

A few football wins doesn’t change any of that, of course, but it’s certainly been wonderful to have a continuing shared experience, above and beyond the ordinary, around which we can all rally.

Sometimes we forget just how valuable shared experiences are in forging a sense of community, and a sense of community is how you get through bad times, like losing your largest employer.

It’s hard to define “community” but it’s easy to see it. Just look at the stands during a Tiger playoff football game. See your neighbors, your friends, your pastor, those many generations of Rockdalians.

Even better, see people with whom you may not agree, people who don’t live in your neighborhood, people you don’t even know, people with smiles on their faces, all yelling their hearts out for the same team you are.

That’s community.

It’s also community when we pick each other up, whether its over an economic loss or a personal one. That’s happened in our town too.

You’ve all seen the lighted V on the north side of the Tiger Field press box and all the shirts, along with the “Keep it Lit” exhortations everywhere.

That’s how our community has come together to remember the unexpected, tragic loss of a father of a Tiger football player.

There are times in the life of a community when a little skepticism creeps in, when we despair if we ever will all be together under the same banner, marching toward the same goal. At its best, sports can provide that and it certainly has in Rockdale this fall.

It’s more than winning, although winning is a huge part of that feeling. Coach Jeff Miller, his players and staff, have represented this town with class and given back to our community in scores of ways many of us may not even know about.

Nice guys don’t always finish last.

Nice guys, and nice communities, do something else. They keep it lit.—M.B.

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2017-12-14 digital edition

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