Having been a professional sports journalist for nearly nine years now, one thing that makes my job interesting is that no two days are ever the same. While some jobs can get a bit monotonous in the day-in, day-out operation, there’s always something new around every corner when I approach my desk.
For instance, until last week I’d never had the treat of covering a state football championship. Nope. Despite nine years in the business at a number of publications, I’d never had the luxury of following one of my football teams to the Edward Jones Dome.
I can now scratch that one off my list, and for that I thank you, Seneca Indians.
As a kid who grew up smack dab in the middle of rural Neosho and Seneca — specifically the Racine area — and having been raised in a home with a father who went to NHS and a mother who attended Seneca High School, some of my most vivid childhood memories were of me sitting in the stands at Earl Campbell Stadium during the great battles between Neosho and Seneca.
It never really mattered where the games were played, Earl Campbell or Bob Anderson Stadium, the stands were always packed and there were high volumes of students mingling along the edges of the field. I was often one of those kids.
These days, perhaps the hardest part of my job is trying to remain impartial. To be honest, “no cheering in the press box” is a rule I have to remind myself to abide on a daily basis, no matter which local team I’m covering.
I admittedly broke this rule a few times when covering the state wrestling championships in Columbia last season. And I admittedly broke this rule again at the Edward Jones Dome last week.
Just like some of those Seneca teams I watched and still vividly remember as a kid growing up, I’ll never forget this team. I’ll never forget this season.
I’ll never forget the players. I’ll never forget the coaches. I’ll never forget the rabid fans. I’ll never forget Dan Scheible challenging his team to be one of significance. I’ll never forget him candidly telling me two weeks before the state title game that they’d already achieved that status. I’ll never forget the student section chanting, “Scheible! Scheible! Scheible!” as the coach calmly paced the sidelines before them.
Just like those late fall nights when my mother and I would plug in our old radio and scan through gargled stations until we’d hear the familiar voice of Seneca playoff football bellowing through our living room … I’ll never forget.
Page 2 of 2 - I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a football team display the fight and resilience of these young men. They started 0-2 and ended up losing four games against four high-quality football teams. Face it, this team, while highly talented, overachieved in the minds of many. Most outsiders left them for dead following an 0-2 start, but their pulse was very alive.
The Maryville Spoofhounds were the better team last Saturday, but the Indians deserved to be on that field. This was no fluke. Even with the game seemingly out of reach, they continued to fight and scored three times in the final 5:15 of the game.
The finish in that game prompted a few journalists to wonder aloud if they’d ever seen and ending like that.
True enough, many of us hadn’t seen a finish like that. Then again, we just as well could have been talking about the Indians’ final run for the title.
The loss might forever sting the young men who walked off that field on the losing end. That’s understandable. But Dan Scheible’s Seneca Indians can forever walk through life knowing that they’ll be remembered as one of the school’s great football teams.
Somewhere a young child sat with his mother and listened to the radio intently as he imagined being on that field with the team, while another observed with excitement from the stands as the young men he’ll grow up admiring forever fought to make their town proud.
The 2013 Seneca Indians will forever be a team of significance. I’ll never forget.