This fan fervor and football fever has gripped the town seemingly for much of the last two decades, but only in the last few years has the community been known as Title Town. It's not that there hadn't been high school football championship game excitement in Danville prior to the incorporation of Title Town in 1999. Danville was racking up title tropies in the mid-1980s through mid-1990's faster than Ron Artest racks up suspensions.
But six years ago, Boyle County joined the victory parade, and since then, one or both of the schools have been making football players kissing and gnawing championship trophies as common an annual December ritual as lovers pressing lips each other under the mistletoe. Hence, Advocate sports editor Larry Vaught's coining of the Title Town term, a term that has entered the lexicon of Kentucky sports lingo and is used by media around the state.
Now enters me, in true Scroogian fashion, to coin the Idle Town term and confess that I have a hard time getting wrapped up in the frenzy. It's not that I am unexcited for the community or unaffected by what it means to the fans and the players and their parents.
It's just that winning football and all the hoopla that surrounds football championship teams and games is not something with which I can identify. Perhaps that's the reason I am a diehard University of Kentucky football fan. I'm as excited as any other UK basketball fan at the Wildcats' great roundball success over the decades, but it's the putrid football program I really care about, and that probably is directly related to my involvement in and support of horrid football in my youth. I grew up in Idle Town, U.S.A., at least when it came to sports enthusiasm.
As a kid, I lived in the Atlanta area where football is probably even bigger than basketball is in Kentucky. I came from a family where football was king. My two older brothers were princes and I was the court jester. Fortunately for all three of us, my brothers generally played on winning teams and I always played on a losing team.
But win or lose, there were lots of people at all of our games, including cheerleaders. Especially cheerleaders. My elementary school had three - that's three - cheerleading squads of eight girls each to root for the school's three teams. When each team would play a big game, all 24 girls would show up. In our case, that would be 48 beautiful eyes looking at the ugliest football at any level played in the South. Thanks to the fact that none of us was a "football hero," we could forget dating any of these belles later on in junior high.
So ugly was our team, in fact, I couldn't bare to watch it. Well, to be honest, I didn't want to play on it. As an illustration of my lack of enthusiasm for what my football-loving father called the "greatest game of them all," I occasionally would skip practice and hide in the woods behind our house until practice would be over. Before I'd go in the house, I would roll in the dirt to make it look like I actually had practiced.
I was caught, however, when I came home one of those afternoons after school when I'd been blocking pine trees in the woods and was asked by a curious father how I could be practicing when the coach had called to say there was no practice that day. My "I was practicing some blocking techniques" excuse didn't wash.
Later on in my lousy career, in junior high, Dad bought a set of weights for my brothers and I to use in the off-season. My brothers were true football heroes in high school. I started on my junior high team, but that was a fluke.