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Tuesday, October 5, 1999

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Football, old glory

and aversity

I was in Balmorhea the last two Friday nights to cover the football games.

This last Friday was also homecoming. We played Grandfalls then and Borden County the Friday before.

Both nights were the type of experience that are good for the soul and a lot of fun as well.

There are bigger football fields in the world, with newer stands and more paint, but I've never seen one that could match the Balmorhea stadium for evening beauty.

Sitting in the stands fans could see the sun setting in the west, the Davis Mountains fading from sunlit hulks to dusky silouhettes in the south, and a huge moon hanging low in the southeast all in one sweeping panaroma.

At both games the visiting school's band played the national anthem before the game. The ACLU hasn't managed to have that declared discriminatory or unconstitutional yet.

All of the notes probably weren't in the right key and a trumpet squeaked once or twice about the time the rockets are glaring red. There weren't enough band members and the sound was low and a little tinny. Not everyone in the band had a uniform, and what uniforms they had were not new.

And it was beautiful. Old Glory flying high and several hundred people paying homage to her, what she stands for, and the men who've sacrificed and died in her name.

Everyone stopped what they were doing. Hats came off. Old mens' spines stiffened _ men who knew of place like Anzio, Guadalcanal, the Chosin Reservoir, and Khe San, or had friends and loved ones at those places. Parents grabbed children who were playing and stood them still and faced them toward the flag. Nobody spoke while the anthem played.

I've been to events where such was not the case and it was good to be in a small town in West Texas where people still appreciate the importance of such moments and still feel like I do about the flag.

When the anthem was over a bunch of kids took the field who probably wouldn't start at a big 5-A school. Kids who reminded me of me, and of most of the the people I've met in the world. People who have no real athletic talent _ only a desire to play and the heart to do it.

And at small schools like Balmorhea, they can play _ and do.

Both games were good games. Homecoming was a heartbreaker for the Bears but they kept the fans on the edge of their seats for four quarters.

When it was over you could see in in the faces of players and fans alike that they had given it their all.

Some people say that it is a shame that one team has to lose, especially when both teams play a good game.

I disagree. It is as important to have lost a great struggle as it is to have won one. It builds character. My wish for the boys on the field that night is that they should know both the bitter agony of defeat and the sweet taste of victory before they hang up their cleats and go on to other challenges. What they learn from both will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

Even more important to me than who won, was what was accomplished. There wasn't a lot of visible wealth out there. The stadium lights aren't bright. The stands are old. The uniforms weren't necessarily new. The coaches didn't have headsets on. The band was small. And the teams and fans on both sides of the field accomplished everything that was accomplished at the big, fancy stadiums in Odessa or Dallas or Houston, where athletic budgets have a lot more zeros in them.

Maybe they accomplished more because it was accomplished despite not having the best of everything.

Balmorhea lost both games, but we all won something in the process.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:

Our View

Fall Fair

The Reeves County Fall Fair and Livestock Show took place over the weekend.

According to everyone who witnessed this year's fair and last year's, the 1999 fair was exponentially better than 1998.

Participation was up in every category - from quilts to booths to the lamb show.

There was good food, interesting exhibits and plenty to see and do for kids of all ages.

Quality events like this are a lot of fun and are important for a community.

They also don't happen without a lot of hard work. It takes time and effort to organize the hundreds of different pieces that make up this kind of puzzle.

Barabara Creagor and the rest of the Fall Fair Committee deserve a round of applause for the success of this year's fair.

Without their sacrifice it would not have happened. We look forward to next year's fair being even better under the guiding hand of this committee.

Your View

Reader disagrees with editor's opinion

Once again someone has missed the point on the Supreme Court ban on prayer in public school, and this time it is the Editor himself. There are several areas that I disagree with his interpretation of the constitution and what in his opinion seems to be the country's religion.

First the separation of church and state definition is based on the Anglican Church, which is the state church of England, from where many of the framers of the constituion had left to be able to practice their own beliefs without one church being held above all others.

The constitution does protect the free exercise of religion. But that freedom has its limits, which in this case is what when others choose not to participate in open demonstration are chastised. The court has therefore stated that in order to allow all persons participation, at public gatherings, in some form of prayer it should be silent.

His statement that we cannot create the United States without Christ since without Christ there would be no rational basis for the Ten Commandments leaves me confused. My confusion is based on the fact that, I could be wrong, the Ten Commandments were given down long before Christ and are not Christian in origin. This may come as a shock to many Christians, but the Ten Commandments are part of Jewish teaching.

He also states that any non-Christian belief structure has no reason for being in the structure of this country. I guess they should just leave. I guess by Mr. Brigg's reasoning, you must believe in Christ in order to be an American. Well, there are a lot of people who do not accept Christ, but they do believe in something. Whatever they believe, or do not believe, they can be American and receive the same protections under the Constitution as Christians.

Mr. Brigg's idea on what makes an American scares me. Not that he has his beliefs but that I read and hear the same belief from others. He says in the beginning of his editorial that the definitions of church and religion are not synonymous and yet if you do not believe in Christ you do not believe in God. This is the same thinking that gave us the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Hundred Years War, the Holocaust, and the current recurring rounds of Jihads. All these conflicts were based on the reasoning that one's belief is more important than someone else's and because of this self thought value all those who are or believe differently should be eradicated. If Mr. Briggs and others, who think like him, get what they want I hope they will be happy in their very small corner of the planet.


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