OK, here's something you probably never thought you'd read in a McDuffie County newspaper: Thomson's loss to Burke County was a good thing.
There, I said it. Doesn't that feel better now that someone has?
Now, for those of you who haven't stopped reading and picked up the phone to cancel your subscription to The Mirror, let me explain. I have not gone AWOL from the Bulldog Nation, nor am I jumping off the black and gold bandwagon.
Instead, I'm using this little space to vent. Yes, I understand the loss stings in the hearts of our coaching staff, burns in the souls of our players and is seared in the minds of most of the Dogs' fans. This is not aimed at anyone on those three categories.
This is for another group, that sector of fans who have spent the last three weeks complaining that Thomson didn't beat Team X by 44 points, Team Y by 30 and Team Z by 50.
They didn't care that the Dogs were undefeated. They didn't care that a group of local teenagers were coming together as a team each Friday night, instead of out doing God knows what with God knows who. None of that mattered to them. Could the Dogs have played better? Certainly. But they also could have played a lot worse.
Admittedly, Thomson is spoiled. We have a well-earned reputation as a bastion of football talent. Our OK is far better than other communities' best efforts.
But that also means many, many fans end up thinking that unless this year's Dogs are as good as or better than the school's five championship teams, the season is a wasted effort.
Well, there's a simple message for these fans: Congratulations. You've completely forgotten what high school football is about.
It's about building character in our young people, making them ready to be the future leaders of our community. It's about building the next county commission chairman, mayor, bank executive, entrepreneur.
Winning is purely a bonus, a bonus Thomson has thankfully enjoyed for years.
So, why was dropping a game to Burke County a good thing? Simple. Hopefully, it'll serve as a wake-up call to the fans that want only big, blow-out wins in the books.
Football truly is more than a game. But it is not a way of life. Instead, it's a way of molding lives. And each season the game adds more credence to the old adage: "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."
And it's what the game makes you.
That's more important than any make in the win or loss column.
Now, go to The Brickyard -- or the stadium of your choice -- and enjoy the game, win or lose.