Saturday, October 03, 2009

Propping Up The Pronghorns

Pronghorn Herd
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
Even though they are athletic enough and have enough numbers to be competitive, the Farson-Eden Pronghorns may not win any games in Wyoming’s first season of six-man football—but, I still like them and I hope they prove me wrong.

Their lackluster season of wins versus losses is only a reflection of the team’s deficiency in football experience as every member is playing their first year of football—ever. And sadly, but not surprisingly, it shows. They struggle with the basics such as snapping the ball to the quarterback, hand-offs, tackling, passing and catching the ball—even running in football gear seems a bit clumsy. In short, they are one awkward looking team when they are competing on the gridiron, which is a bit odd because when they take the field, they look as physical and capable as any other team.

I still like ’em.

My hope for Farson-Eden is that the winless season staring them down now doesn’t discourage them nor their community. Farson-Eden represents everything I love about small town high school football in America. They are the poster child of this niche culture in my mind’s eye. Their community is remote and small while their old football field behind the school is reminiscent of a Field of Dreams. Although they did not play any games on the old field this year (they retrofitted the city park baseball field), I hope the school and community consider sprucing up the old gridiron with its south end zone vista gazing into the big empty of the high desert that surrounds Farson.

Steve Amrine
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
If they haven’t already, I’d like to believe that the Farson-Eden teams of the future will take their mascot name to heart in considering the Pronghorn Antelope’s attribute of speed in a game that typically anoints the fastest rather than the biggest as victor. [For those who might not be in the know: the North American Pronghorn Antelope—Antilocapra americana—is the fastest animal in North America.] With this in mind, I can’t think of a more perfect mascot name for a six-man football team playing in the American West. Therefore, beyond winning, the Pronghorns of Farson-Eden should make it their mission to be known as the fastest in Wyoming’s assembly of six-man football teams. (On a related note, given the great numbers of antelope throughout Wyoming, I’m surprised there aren’t more schools that have adopted the Pronghorn as their mascot.)

Everyone in America likes a winner, but Americans love a come-from-behind, down-and-out, Rocky Balboa-type winner even more. As Wyoming six-man football establishes itself, I hope some version of that script finds its way to the Farson-Eden Pronghorns.

Postscript: As long as I’m here, I’d like to extend my apologies and sympathies to Farson-Eden’s Tom Smith. Although he is one of their most athletic players, in the two Pronghorn games I’ve attended, he has sustained game-ending injuries both times—a badly sprained ankle at home against Guernsey-Sunrise and a separated shoulder in Meeteetse. I think my presence is bad luck for them.


Ron said...

Great story, Morgan.

Betty Baldwin Lowery said...

The boys are amazing! What they lack in experience, they make up for in heart. From SC where football is a religion, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Guernsey-Sunrise game. Expect great things from these young men as they become seasoned players! Their school and parents have every right to be proud of their young Pronghorns!