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ROGER WATSON COLUMN: Leave politics out of football

Friday nights are for football in Stanly County.

It’s a night to put our cares aside and come together. A time to sit in the stands under crisp fall skies and celebrate a tradition that goes back decades. A night when the dinner menu includes a concession stand hot dog, French fries and a Cheerwine served up by community volunteers raising money for the booster club, band or cheerleaders.

Friday nights are for community in Stanly County. Neighbors sitting in the stands catching up from the long summer break, sharing future plans and current triumphs and struggles of each other’s children.

Roger Watson

It’s a time to celebrate the student athletes when any color divisions between red or blue are cast aside and the colors of green, dark blue, light blue and red and gray are worn with pride. Elephants and donkeys have no place in these community celebrations where Bulldogs, Rowdy Rebel Bulls, Comets and Colts are the only tribal identities.

We stand and face the same flag as the National Anthem is played before each game reminding us we are one nation, on the same team.

In recent years, politics has begun to define us as individuals. We typecast our neighbors and friends as liberals or conservatives based on what they believe, where they go to church or even what type of vehicle they drive.

Politics has crept into the television we watch, the fast food we eat and whether or not we enjoy NFL football. Politics has caused us to hide behind social media accounts and call each other names like rednecks, racists, stupid and many others. It has caused long-time friends to barely speak and neighbors to fence themselves off from each other. Politics has divided communities across our land causing deep division, and there is no prospect of the situation improving anytime soon.

But, Friday nights are for football in Stanly County.

As a community we should resist any attempts to change that. There’s plenty of time for all the politics anyone can stomach between now and Nov. 3, 2020. There’s only 11 glorious Friday nights of high school football per season.

Let’s not allow politics to invade those precious nights. Those are our Friday nights where we stand as communities, greet each other as friends and witness part of the glory that is life in the United States of America.

Roger Watson is publisher of The Stanly News & Press.