By MURPHY FAIR
At this time of the year, it's always a struggle trying to decide which football game or games I plan on attending on Friday nights. Those who follow my writing and broadcast work are always wondering what my game of choice will be throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.
Making such a choice is never easy. There always seems to be six or eight games every week that I'd love to attend for one reason or another. I try very hard to catch at least two games, sometimes three, on Friday nights in addition to witnessing a bonus game on Thursdays as the sideline reporter for Thursday Night Lights.
I'm always interested in seeing the players I put on the cover of my annual preseason magazine. But visiting with a particular coach prior to kickoff and then watching that coach in action on the sideline are also factors when considering my destinations on Friday nights in the fall.
Oftentimes, those games are not here in the midstate. Fans of high school football are just as likely to see me on the sideline in Knoxville or Memphis as they are in Nashville or rural middle Tennessee. If you count my trip to Savannah last week to see my grandson Isaac's game, I logged more than 800 miles last week to watch three games.
The marquee game on my schedule last week was in Union City. Since I have relatives there, watching the Tornadoes also gives me an opportunity to visit with family. The fact that once beaten Union City was hosting undefeated and top ranked Humboldt made last week's selection process extremely easy.
The game was one of the best I've seen all season. As I expected, Union City handed the Vikings their first loss of the season, winning a thriller by a 32-26 margin. But, as usual, something other than the game took a higher billing that night.
Everywhere I looked in the stadium, I saw pink. I was fully aware of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But people in Union City took that awareness to a whole new level, one that I won't soon forget.
Hadley Malone, agency manager for the local Farm Bureau Insurance office, purchased pink jerseys for the normally clad purple and gold Tornadoes to wear that night. UC Coach Darren Bowling, his assistant coaches and players on the team totally bought into the plan.
Malone and his staff then set up tents and tables just beyond the endzone to allow fans, parents and anyone else to bid on the jerseys in the form of a silent auction during the game.
The event was a huge success. Profits from the sale of the jerseys and other events helped raise more than $10,000.00 for the cause that night because someone had a dream and followed through with it. Job well done, Union City.
Murphy Fair has published Tennessee High School Football for 25 years. His statewide syndicated radio show (Murphy’s Matchups) can be heard locally Fridays just before kickoff on WBRY.).