It was truly an overwhelming show of support from a “rival” community and one I was not expecting.
“It’s unbelievable the affection that they have shown us to do that,” Kostiha told me after the game. “People don’t realize how tough it’s been the last two or three weeks. I’m lucky that I have such a great wife... and the family we have around here: the Gordon and Strawn family.”
Kostiha said Strawn Superintendent Brent Dawson – one of Kostiha’s best friends and a groomsman at his wedding – spearheaded the fundraiser. Strawn head coach Dewaine Lee expected nothing less from the Strawn community.
“I think people in general in the two communities want to win, just for the bragging rights for a year, but it’s clean and if anything happened over there or here, the community is going to step up,” he said. “Coach Kostiha is one of my good friends. We’ve been friends since before he was coach over there and he’s been in our house many times.”
How special to know that every member of a two-town community will have your back no matter what.
When Gordon and Strawn meet on the gridiron each year, there’s no doubt that it’s a hard-fought rivalry that pits neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother. But at the end of the day, that also means that these two communities are a family and Gordon and Strawn know it.
This is Texas high school football in its purest, most unadulterated form. Amateur athletes playing clean and hard for the love of the game and a 100 percent supportive community behind them that will also do whatever is necessary to support a community member in need. It’s a moving tribute to the power of a caring community with the right attitude.
God bless Gordon and Strawn and God bless the family of Joe Kostiha.
Follow Clint on Twitter @Clint_Foster55