Lots to be thankful for in local sports
If you can't eat another bite of turkey and you're all shopped out, you might head over to the new Lebanon High School today for the second day of its Thanksgiving Classic at the new Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.
The new gym is beautiful. It's well-lit. It's spacious. And, available nowhere else in Wilson County, for right now, is the video screen. A smaller version of the board on the football field, it makes the place look even brighter and has a fan cam during timeouts.
This is the season to think about all we have to be thankful for. Blue Devil Nation should certainly be thankful for the new school after over half a century in a building whose time had passed and the political hurdles which had to be overcome to get its replacement.
With the new LHS gym, it leaves Watertown's gym as the last remaining basketball venue in Wilson County [not counting middle schools and perhaps Mt. Juliet Christian] which was open when I began covering sports in the mid-1980s; and it was just a couple of years old then. And it will be swapped out in a couple of years for a new Purple Tiger lair.
And when the new WHS opens in 2014, it'll leave Wilson Central, which only went online in 2001 as the oldest public high school campus in the county.
Also, Friendship Christian and Mt. Juliet fans can be thankful for football teams which have made it to at least the semifinal round for two straight years. Until the Commanders reached the 2006 BlueCross Bowl, this county had never had a team go so far during the era of the expanded playoffs. Watertown was in the semis in 1971 and '76, but there were only four teams in '71 and not that many more five years later.
In general, Friendship fans can be thankful for an abundance of state championships – four in just over a year with possibly more to come. It will be very interesting to see what happens when FCS moves to Division II next year.
Basketball fans can be thankful for a run of success in recent seasons. It's been a rare year since the turn of the 21st Century that we haven't been represented in a State Tournament.
And then there's Cumberland, which should be thankful Dewayne Alexander has put into place a football program which has not only churned out the most wins by a college team in the state in the last three years, but graduates its players who become solid citizens as well.
And now that basketball has started, Jeremy Lewis' three-year rebuilding of the Lady Bulldog program has started to pay dividends with a 7-0 start.
On the opposite end of the season, women's soccer upset NAIA power Martin Methodist just over a week ago to earn a trip to its first-ever national tournament.
I'm leaving lots of players and teams out. But it's time for me to head home to my family - for whom I am thankful.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org