Why not us?

    Last week I spent a bit of time chatting with Brian Valenzuela, a high school friend and sports teammate, who is an assistant football coach at Jacksboro High School. Jacksboro finished the regular season as District Champs and blew away the competition in the Bi-District playoff round. In round two, Jacksboro matched up with Gunter, the number-one ranked team in 3A-DII. 

    Gunter is a lot like Refugio. Since 2016, Gunter appeared in the State Championship game every year except one (and that one year they made it to the State Semi-Finals), winning one championship.

    During the conversation, I said, “Man, that’s a tough draw for the second round.”

    Brian said, “To get where we want to be, we have to defeat teams like Gunter. So, why not round two? Why not us?”

    That response is the perfect answer for any coach to have. Aside from being the absolute truth, it’s the kind of talk that inspires confidence in the kids who play for them.

    As a sports fan, I’ve felt ‘why not us’ so many times in my life.

    Being a 40-year Texas Ranger fan, growing up watching them struggle to stay out of last place, I got used to accepting losing in sports. When they finally made the playoffs in the 1990’s, they quickly got sent home by the New York Yankees every time. So, in 2011, when they again had to face the Yankees, I was already ready for them to be sent home. Except they actually defeated the Yankees and advanced to the World Series for the first time.

    I had watched half of the league win the World Series in my life, so when the Rangers finally advanced, I was able to ask, “Why not us?” 

    But of course, despite back-to-back trips to the World Series, Texas didn’t win it.

    Or, how about Texas Tech. Remember in Mike Leach’s days, they pulled off a huge win over Texas? (Y’all don’t kill me, I grew up in west Texas, a Tech fan.) They sat at second in the country. Maybe they were finally going to make it the Championship Bowl game. Why not us? Well...because two weeks later, Oklahoma destroyed them.

    “Why not us?” has been my sports fandom motto my whole life. 

    When I was playing high school sports, we were very good, but never were able to advance past the fourth playoff round in any sport I played. Since I’ve graduated, my alma mater has been back to the fourth round numerous times, but never beyond.

    Since I began working at the paper, it has been the same situation. Now, the Industrial volleyball team winning State kind of rips apart what I am saying. I admit, that was very cool, and I was extremely happy for the girls, and covered it as best as I could. But when I say, “Why not us?” I’m talking about MY sports: football, baseball and softball. The sports I grew up watching and/or playing.

    All three Jackson County football teams, and Maidens softball, have advanced to the fourth round since I’ve worked at the paper, but none beyond that point.

    In the next couple of weeks, the football teams have a chance to finally move on to the Semi-Finals for the first time since I’ve been associated with Jackson County, and that will be just one step away from a Championship appearance.

    So, why not us?


Note- Jacksboro lost to Gunter in the Area playoff game.

Jackson County Herald Tribune

306 N. Wells
Edna, TX 77957