High school football season officially ended in McDuffie and Warren counties Friday night with playoff losses by Thomson, Briarwood and Warren County. Based on some of the grumbling I heard from a few McDuffie County parents, there might be those that are glad the season is over. They won't have to locate babysitters should school dismiss early again.
Some parents were apparently upset that the school board decided to end the school day last Friday at 1 p.m. This decision was made for the consideration of those that desired to travel to the game in Albany, approximately four hours away. This was not only the correct decision, but the only decision that could have been made.
The McDuffie County school system and community has one high school with a very strong football tradition. On fall Friday nights, Thomson Bulldog football is the number one show in town, even if the game is not in town. Football games bring people together like no other event. It is not more important than academics, but it is a rallying point for those that have passed through the halls of THS over the years.
I won't even go into the numerous logical reasons that a large majority already understood as to why school was released early. It was just plain old common sense. To the minority of people who felt inconvenienced for one afternoon, all I can say is too bad. I grew up in a small town just north of here that breathed football and 99.9 percent of the people would be thrilled that the high school team was in the playoffs. I hope Thomson, Ga., is not outgrowing that same attitude.
As a teacher in the school system, I know for a fact that if parents want to pick their kids up on Fridays at noon to go to Disney World, Braves games, the mountains, the beach or wherever, they do it. Not only do they do it, but they often send notes for the school to have the child waiting for them on the front steps. They don't want to miss a minute of leisure time when it is for their own private benefit.
To hear people moan that getting out of school once for a mere two-and-one-half hours early, only two at the elementary schools, was a hassle for them proves one point to me. That point? For many, the schoolhouse is mostly a glorified, free babysitting service. If early dismissal means that the local high school team is good enough to be in the state playoffs, every one of us should be darned glad.
The only place you can live around here without this possibly becoming an issue is in Augusta. They'll never dismiss school early for a football game because nobody cares. They don't care about football, because they don't care about much of anything except their own money. To get there, take I-20 East. If you live here and don't understand what the high school team means to most folks, you best not say it too loud.
Congratulations to the players and coaches at Thomson High School on a 10-2 season. Their only two losses were to schools that will finish no worse than in the top eight in Georgia in their classifications. Washington-Wilkes, and off course Dougherty, will both play this weekend in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.