Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that I still live in what is essentially, the same small town I grew up in. Last week I attempted to write a column about the MHS vs. EU rivalry. I hoped to spark some interest in a rivalry game that from my point of view had lost a bit of steam the last decade. The column however was leaked to a few of the EU contingent before it made press. And boy did it get ugly. Phone calls to the Bulletin office with threats of ending subscriptions. Various emails bouncing around town. Random phone calls to myself from Lancers of varying importance...
To be honest, it actually felt like the rivalry was back for a few heated hours!
An even more frustrating and disturbing aspect – it was my fault. I had of my own accord reached out to a few former Lancers, and let them know I’d be writing a piece – intended to touch on how the rivalry has petered out...and with that, it took just one whisper into another’s ear, and I was reminded that I still live in the same beautiful Manteca I grew up in. The one where rumors spread like wildfire – and where people defend their schools honor as if it was their own.
There was only one thing that struck me as odd during the entire saga...nobody had read the column yet!!! I had merely told a few people of my intention to write an “MHS vs. EU Rivalry” column.
So the Bulletin, against my pleading, went ahead and chopped out any inference to East Union struggling as of late. Took out a wonderful Walker Vick line that involved him having a secret green war room phone – just for instances like this. Butchered my beautiful column! You know, that column I write for free for this newspaper and town because I love doing it...and had the life sucked out of it by a few people that I will not name – but you know who you are.
I’m curious as to how a column imploring and encouraging a program, to strive for their former glory – can be met with such rancor?
Was bringing up your current 10 year plight not public knowledge? You can certainly pick up a paper on a Saturday morn and reach the same conclusion that my column hoped to provide. From what I know, nobody called to cancel their subscription after the paper printed the story of the loss to Central? Yet I digress...
Why not see the column challenge and meet it head on? I gave you bulletin board material, and instead of using it to your advantage you call the Manteca Bulletin offices threatening to pull your subscription?? Over a column you hadn’t even read yet? Do you really think a 17-year-old Lancer student is reading this column? What lesson are you hoping to instill into your kids? “When the going gets tough – the tough has their mom make veiled ridiculous threats to the local newspaper?” I write this column from a satirical comedic position. Lighten Up! You embarrass yourself, and diminish the fortitude I’m certain the Lancer football players have. They are the ones toiling and sweating. They are the ones with the memories of Hell Week. They are the ones that have dedicated themselves to their school and sport. They are the ones I respect with every bit of my Manteca heart.
Stop coddling a group of young men that don’t need it.
The vicarious nature of your intentions is as ever present – as it is unnecessary.
Aren’t we supposed to be teaching kids to meet adversity head on? Aren’t these the character building years?
Maybe I’m way out of line. I don’t have kids after all.
But I have an idea. And if the majority sees fit, I can petition the VOL. Maybe we should ask that all former records should be stricken. I hate the fact that my senior year I was beaten by East Union in football. Can I have it retroactively stricken from the record? No, because that is asinine and ridiculous. Hmmm. Instead, can we just have every one that ever played football have a 5-5 record? All basketball teams from here out were actually 14-14?...We can change “All League” patches, to “Also Participated” patches – and of course everybody gets one. That fixes everything right? Wrong.
Sports are a vehicle intended to teach life lessons. Winning and losing with class, sportsmanship, hard work, perseverance – the list goes on and on.
Gentleman of the Lancer football teams – at every level and of every generation past – I doff my green cap in your direction. Without the Hatfields, there are no McCoys. Without Coke, no Pepsi. And yes, without you East Union, the MHS Buffaloes from 67-94, would not have this wonderful rivalry that exists between us.
Parents, faculty, and alumni – of all the schools in town – stop letting your delicate sensibilities ruin the fun that is having a rivalry. Because this last week you sucked all the fun out of it.
So in an unprecedented sign of town solidarity, the MHS Block M Alumni contingent would like to extend an olive branch to all former East Union alumni (and for the record, I went through the proper channels before writing this – a Buffalo always seeks the council of his older herd mates.)
For years we shared Guss Schmiedt Field with the Lancers. Over the last several years a large group of MHS Alum has occupied the south end zone during games. It is a fantastic experience – kids getting to meet old legends – and just general camaraderie at its best. We would like to invite any former EU Alum to join us (and no this isn’t a trap to toss green paint on you.) The north end zone can be full of Buffaloes and Lancers of yesteryear – mixing and mingling.
Wear your red and blue. We can share old memories, and make new ones. Enjoy the smell of Eckert Cold Storage. Root for our teams, and part as we are – rivals.
. . . .and most importantly – as Mantecans.
Farewell Nina...Several months back Nina Frisby of the Manteca Bulletin staff came up with the idea to turn Manteca to a T into a book. Without her conviction and commitment to the project it never would’ve come to fruition. You are moving to greener pastures. I will be forever grateful for what you have done. Manteca to a T
“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do.”