Following our team's memories
Today will probably be a quiet day around the county as people pile in their cars heading to Hanceville to watch the northwest Alabama basketball regionals.
Russellville's boys will play Wenonah at 1:30 p.m. today followed by Red Bay's girls, who will take on Tanner at 3 p.m.
It will be a good chance for fans of both schools to go pull for the other county team. I am sure that if the state hadn't recently changed the way our license plates were designed, the parking lot there would be full of "33" tags.
It has always been fun to see local fans rallying behind their high school teams.
Having grown up here, some of the most vivid memories I have are from following Russellville teams all over the state.
I can still remember, as a second-grader, taking off with my dad in an old MG-B convertible to see the Golden Tigers play Pell City in the 1987 state football playoffs. I remember getting behind a car with a Franklin County license plate and following them nearly to Georgia it seemed before we realized, 'they must not be going to the game."
We watched Russellville beat Colbert County in the playoffs before losing to Greenville in double overtime in the state championship game.
We traveled to Attalla to see the defense rip future Alabama quarterback Freddie Kitchens apart and beat Etowah in the 1992 semi-finals. A week later, Auburn quarterback Damieyune Craig and Blount beat Russellville for the state title in Mobile, a game most remembered by local fans because of a gun-waving incident in the visitor stands.
There were huge games to see against Wenonah and Homewood in 1994 and numerous games to count during the recent run that resulted in three straight state championship game appearances from 2002-2004.
I remember leaving Tuscaloosa in 2002, just minutes after Antoine Pettway made a lay-up to beat Florida and win the SEC championship, to drive to Hanceville to see Russellville win the regional tournament. A week later, they lost to Anniston in the state championship game.
That same week I drove back and forth to Birmingham from Tuscaloosa to see the Belgreen Lady Bulldogs play for and win the 1A state championship.
The stories of following our favorite teams are some that last with us forever.
There are things I forget from one minute to the next, but I will always remember seeing Cedric Gholston catch a pass lying on his back in the end zone or seeing Freddie Kitchens pinned against the goal post for a safety against Etowah in 1992.
I probably won't even remember sitting down to write this column in a day or two, but I can still see Chad Sears throwing a hail mary pass to Marcus Hill in the corner of the endzone to beat Colbert County in 1993.
As we travel to see the Golden Tigers and Lady Tigers this week, and hopefully next, memories will be made that will last forever.
Too bad we can't remember the other little things that get us by day-to-day.