By CLINT FOSTER
I was excited.
Much to the chagrin of my sports editor, Tony Eierdam – who was obligated to cover the Mineral Wells game last Friday – I had been assigned to cover the fabled Gordon-Strawn game. Well known as one of the best and fiercest six man football rivalries in the entire state of Texas, I was expecting a great, unique experience.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine had tabbed it as the six-man Game of the Week. I was ready to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy a thrilling, competitive game fueled by the hatred of two perennial six man powers less than nine miles apart. I was hoping for Palo Pinto County’s annual, six-man football version of a civil war.
What I got was so much better.
When I first drove into Strawn – a town of roughly 643 with a railroad track running right down the middle – I was immediately charmed by the small town atmosphere. Signs of Greyhound spirit were everywhere I looked and I swiftly pulled into Mary’s Cafe to grab dinner. I had heard the hype and needless to say I was just about as excited to eat Mary’s famous chicken fried steak as I was to watch the game. I ate my meal, talked with some friendly locals and went on my way, following a path of red and black paw prints to Greyhound Stadium. I immediately noticed Strawn’s state championship monuments, giving just a snapshot of their storied tradition.
It was a picturesque scene before kickoff. As the small stadium filled beyond capacity, the sunset burst into a beautiful palate of colors behind the green North Texas Hill Country landscape. A train blew its whistle as it passed directly behind the stadium as if to say “good luck” to the boys about to play one of America’s greatest sports. It was one of those “God Bless Texas” moments.