Selma: Rally around our Saints

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

To the Editor:

After watching “Friday Night Lights” for at least the fiftieth time, I reminisced upon my days donning the Columbia blue and gold uniforms of Selma High School a little over half a decade ago. Unlike most of the times when I thought back to those days, this time I thought less about the actual sport and more about its effects on a community, particularly a small one like Selma.

In the movie, you see store after store with “Closed, Gone To The Game” signs in their windows on Friday nights, everyone has a team banner in their yard, and team paraphernalia is the outfit of choice. Small towns are literally held together by high school football in many cases, especially in towns in the South where football is ritual and die hard rooting for the home team is as natural as attending the family reunion or getting up for church on Sunday morning.

Email newsletter signup

So, I asked myself, after watching this film, “Why doesn’t Selma rally behind the Saints?”

I think rallying behind the Saints can solve many of our community’s problems at large. That’s right, I am asserting that this sport can mend some of Selma’s wounds and take this town to new heights of economic and educational improvement. One needs to look no farther than Prattville to see a community that is close knit and successful, stemming from a good football program.

Families move to Prattville from Montgomery and surrounding areas to have their children take part in the magic that is going on there.

Revenue is pumped into the city because people travel from near and far to attend games, kids get scholarships, endorsement deals are made, and before you know it you have a booming economy and a surplus of town pride all centered around the pigskin.

I have browsed frantically on the internet every Saturday morning since 2000 to see how my alma mater fared and have loved what I have seen and read lately. The team, though 1-2, is staying in games with Alabama’s finest teams. I had a chance to watch them practice and can tell that there is a different energy out there. The coach is intense, the players believe – they have a swagger about themselves.

Perhaps the last piece to the puzzle has nothing to do with the actual team.

If Selma bought into this team, this school, this program – we would all reap the benefits.

Here are a few things that I think we can do to make the Saints float to the top of the football world. First, when it’s time to renegotiate the coach’s contract, give him what he wants. Keep that man in Selma. Second, fix the field house.

It’s dilapidated and insufficient for a 6A school (especially considering some of the frivolous things our School Board has spent money on). Third, rally behind the players. Wear Selma Saint gear, put signs in your yard, put posters in your business.

If this community does the little things, we will start to see a change.

Ben Obomanu, the once Auburn star turned NFL receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, was a teammate of mine. He has proven that one can make it from Selma to the big leagues.

Honestly, with the talent here, Ben should be the first of dozens to make that step but that won’t happen unless colleges start to notice this city.

We know this town is special but it’s time to show the country. If Hoover High School can have their own MTV show about their football, we can rally around our Saints. All we need is some wins, some pride, and a little help from Selma, Ala.

Jason Smith

New York, N.Y.