Claremore Daily Progress

January 10, 2011

Small town

Larry Larkin
Progress Correspondent

CLAREMORE — High school football for this school year has come and gone once again. Even so, some words I heard on the radio refuse to go away.

It was on a sports talk show a day or so before Union and Jenks played their annual Class 6A championship game. The host asked a Jenks assistant coach how come his school and Union continue to have winning teams year after year?

The answer was simply “We have a big time sports program with super small town support.”

At first this sounded like a slam. Small town support? Was it a put down against the community of Jenks?

That is not what the coach was saying at all. It was just the opposite. He meant the football program had the support of the Jenks residents The support that comes from small towns and communities was making their program better.

Claremore is currently building a new fieldhouse for the school’s indoor sports like basketball and wrestling. It looks like the new facility is going to be a beauty. It should be a palace of pride for our future student-athletes.

However, there is one hitch.

The coach said despite some state championship teams in recent years we can’t fill the stands with fans in the current building! How can we expect to fill a bigger one? The same is true with the new Lantow Field football complex. How many reserve red seats were left vacant the past two years?

Which must come first…a winning team or great fan support? It is the same with the chicken and the egg.

Years ago the main street of Claremore was almost totally vacant when the Zebras played a football game. Businesses closed early. Fans of all ages were at the games.

This will never happen again. Claremore is now a city. Still our community is not so large we can not show support for our young people, be it sports or any other school activity. Hopefully that time will never come.

Parents have a habit of watching their kids and then drift away once they graduate. That doesn’t need to be the case, however. There is no requirement that to buy a ticket one must be a parent. Anyone is welcome. Athletic director Brent Payne and his staff have kept admission prices as low as possible.

Make a New Year’s resolution for 2011. Come out and watch a high school or junior high event. Watch the action, visit with your neighbors and make new friends, and eat a hot dog and some popcorn. It is a safe bet you will enjoy yourself.