The Punchers have had a very exciting early season. Mason fans have been treated to some great football this year, and they are enjoying watching the players, coaches, band, cheerleaders and other supporters work together to make this a stellar season.This Friday night, we finally start playing "for real." We will be meeting up with the Eldorado Eagles, and it's a good bet that many fans will make the trip to watch and enjoy the evening. As Coach Burns notes in his comments this week, the outcomes of our Friday night matchups are never a given; but, it is very hard for everyone to suppress the optimism they feel for the 2011 season.Ahead of us - Reagan County, Goldthwaite and Winters. And, it's a good bet that we will see play going on into the fall as we advance in the playoffs. We can't count victories that have not yet occurred; but, we know the quality of our team and its coaches, and the community is being buoyed by the wins we have had.Last week, it was dismaying to watch our stands, packed to overflowing, while the visitor stands contained fewer than 70 people, counting the band members. Mason has a tradition of supporting its kids and their endeavors; but, not every community has that same attitude. I know that it is quite possible that, as we travel out of town for Eldorado and Goldthwaite, there will be as many Mason fans attending as the hometown teams will muster.We have to remember that the people out on those fields are youngsters. They are playing the game because they enjoy it; but, they are also playing because they enjoy the support and encouragement of their fans. I've been proud of our Mason fans as we've gone through this early season. We have supported our team; but, we've never lost sight of the vulnerability and youthfulness of the opposing teams. We applaud their successes, we congratulate their achievements and we encourage their excellence. We are confident enough in the skills of our own kids that we are not threatened by showing support for the other young men and women that make up our opposition.As we move along and the stakes become higher, it's easy to lose our objectivity. It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of the competition and to let ourselves treat them with less respect than we've been showing. However, I don't see that happening.What I do see is that Mason has an opportunity to show our neighboring communities, and communities across the state, the "stuff that we are made of." I see that, in our finest moments, we have the opportunity to show our finest qualities. We can exhibit the greatest civility and sportsmanship. We can extend the hand of friendly competition. We can be proud parents and supporters; but, also good friends and neighbors.I truly believe that great things await the Punchers this season. I also believe that it is a chance for all the rest of us, those of us who are not on the playing field or wearing a uniform, to show our finest qualities. I feel that, once this season has ended, all those who have encountered us will speak well of those meetings and will remember the quality of the experience.I offer my best wishes to the Punchers, and to the band, the cheerleaders, the support groups and the students. I also offer my best wishes to a community that has produced the people involved in this season. We can pat ourselves on the back and take great pride in the people that we are, and the future generations we're producing.Let's keep up the good work.
It’s all just my opinion.