Growing up in Duncan, Arizona, there were three unalterable truths to life:
1. If the price of copper was good, life was good. If the price of copper was bad…pray with every ounce of your soul for the price of copper to be good.
2. There is no perfect amount of rain in one year. Either it was not enough and all the crops were going to suffer, or, the Gila River would flood and wipe half the town away.
3. After Satan and Darth Vader, the most pure evil to be found on the earth were the green and white clad minions of Thatcher High School.
To go a little geek on you here for a moment, Thatcher was like Mordor in Middle Earth. All the surrounding communities lived in perpetual fear of the dark riders being dispatched from Minas Morgal on their soulless green and white bus for the sole purpose of laying waste to our (put in your favorite sport, ie. football, basketball, volleyball, etc) team. How we despised them. (I’m sure there is some connection that could be made to basketball coach/principal Paul Nelson being Sauron, but we’re going to leave that alone.)
A victory over Thatcher was an event to be celebrated for days. A close loss was worthy of cursing, egg throwing and eventual nasty letters being written to the local paper. But more often than not, most contests, as far as Duncan was concerned, ended in complete and utter devastation.
So, five and a half years after my graduation from high school, you can imagine my family’s concern when I went and married a girl from Thatcher. It was not pretty. Shannon was accepted, but the taunts and the ribbing was intense in the early years. But the way most of them came to grips with this new arrangement was the fact that we would be moving to Mesa and would not be living in either place. This remained the case for nine years.
Then, Shannon and I felt the need to get our young family back closer to the home we’d grown up with. Which led to a discussion. Where were we going to live?
Duncan was off the table immediately. There were simply no jobs available to make it feasible. That meant we were moving to one of the three communities in the Gila Valley: Safford, Pima or…Thatcher.
My wife made the decision easy. She said, “I can live anywhere…but we’re going to live in Thatcher.” Decision made.
So, almost eight years ago, my family settled into our home in Thatcher, Arizona and life has been perfect since. Or has it?
When it came to attending sporting events, I had very little problem switching my allegiance to my new locale. Well, less problems than I thought. Rooting for the Eagles still causes me to get chills every once in a while, but as the people wearing green began to be my friends and the boys competing happened to be the same ones showing up in my teacher’s quorum on Sunday, the difficulty I experienced waned.
Except when they played Duncan.
For whatever reason, I couldn’t let it go. As I have recorded earlier, when my brother-in-law graduated a couple of years after we moved here, I subtly wore a red polo shirt with grey slacks (Duncan’s school colors) to his graduation. When the two teams would compete, I would undoubtedly find myself on the Duncan side, sitting with my extended family, rooting on the rebellion as we stared into the face of the Death Star. It’s apparently part of my DNA.
But as of last Friday night, it appears I’m going to have to succumb fully to my inner Benedict Arnold.
My oldest daughter will enter high school next year. Up until now, sports have never been of interest to her. They still aren’t, other than a sudden fascination with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. (Shannon and I discussed disowning her, but my wife wouldn’t let me.) But since she was a little girl, she has been fascinated with being a cheerleader. There have been times I had thought the dream had died, but in truth, it never had. This last week, after two years of dance classes and a lifetime of ear-splitting yelling around the house for no reason, she put her skills to the test and tried out for the Thatcher High School Spirit Line.
And she made it.
As a father, I could not possibly be more proud of her. She worked harder for this than anything I have ever seen her put her effort toward.
As a Duncan High School alumnus, I feel my duplicitous life has finally come to an end. I am going to have to don the dreaded green and white.
So forgive me, my fellow Wildkats. To complete the metaphor, the ring has finally taken complete control of my soul and there is no turning back.
But to my daughter, I am so proud of you. And for you and for you alone, I will happily turn to the darkside.
In other news, I received a message back from another fellow author in the Cedar Fort ranks who agreed to read my book. Steve Westover lives in rural Missouri and has published four books with Cedar Fort. His stories tend to be action/adventure oriented.
When I first approached him with the idea of endorsing my book, he responded that he would do his best but that he was very busy. I could accept that. With a book having come out at the end of 2012 and another two books due out this year, I was surprised he had time to answer my e-mail. But I’m grateful he did.
A week or so ago, I finally heard back from him and thankfully he had found the time to read THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. His thoughts?
Heartbreaking, emotionally charged, humorous and real: THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER will grip you by the throat, leaving you desperate for closure until you turn that final satisfying page.
I will admit to having never thought of my book as one that would grip you by the throat. But when I think about it, I like the visual.
So publicly, I would like to thank Steve for taking time out of his packed schedule and reading my first novel. It was admittedly a gamble for him. But even more so, I would like to thank him for his extremely gracious endorsement. I truly appreciate it.
More about Steve Westover can be found at http://www.stevewestover.com
THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER arrives August 2013 and can be pre-ordered at amazon.com by following the link at the bottom of this post. Thanks again to everyone putting up with my ramblings for your support.