By: Courtney Harrington
Once a year, it comes time for the town rivalry game in high school football betweenNationFordHigh SchoolandFortMillHigh School. For the past four years,FortMillhas walked away with the victory, and this past Friday night we were successful in making the trend 5-0. However, each year the students within each school tend to make the fun competition into something ugly.
Being a senior myself, I am very grateful to be able to say thatFortMillhas defeated Nation Ford in football all the years that I have been a student here. However, with each year that passes, I look forward to the rivalry game less and less due to the negativity being thrown back and forth between the two schools. Every year the level of “trash-talking” of the opposing school seems to increase. I believe that the rivalry game should be something every student looks forward to and doesn’t have to deal with the cross-town rivals lashing out at us and visa versa.
During last year’s game, people were going to the bathroom on the Nation Ford rock,FortMillgirls had red and black paint thrown onto them, and tires were being slashed. Since when should high school football games consist of such actions? Just because we are playing our rivals does not mean that the correct behavior is free to fly out the window for the night. We are ALLFortMillresidents, and we have a reputation to uphold.
This past Friday was in some ways an improvement from last year’s competitive based actions, but there was definitely still some negativity flowing throughout the fans present at Bob Jones Stadium. The thing that has seemed to flare up this year, I personally believe, is verbal harassment and abuse. After the game ended, and Nation Ford lost a good fight, Facebook statuses began to be posted left and right stating thatFortMillsimply got lucky and that it was an ignorant statement for us to be calledFortMillHigh School.
On the other side of things, I saw a lot of Fort Mill students posting positive encouragement on the Nation Ford football boy’s Facebook walls, telling them how well they played and wishing them luck in the playoffs. I wish that the rivalry game was about friendly competition, not about who is the best and taking things one step too far. As I leaveFortMillHigh Schoolin June, I want to ask the underclassmen to stay classy and respect one another. If it was not forNationFordHigh School, roughly three thousand students would be cramped into one school. Let the rivalry game be a positive and memorable event for the years to come.