River rivalries can befuddle oddsmakers

Published 9:28 am Thursday, October 15, 2015

In a flash, the fortunes flipped Friday night in Mocksville. The visitor’s side of the football stadium erupted in we-just-won cheers. The home side gasped in disbelief as their team’s chance to tie disappeared in 10 seconds — the time it took a West Forsyth player to scamper 97 yards to the opposite end zone.

Davie County’s threat late in the fourth quarter was quashed. West Forsyth won after trailing most of the game.

Instead of being locked in a tie, the teams were two touchdowns apart as the last minute clicked off the scoreboard.

That is both the joy and misery of sports — and perhaps life too. West Forsyth had been the prohibitive favorite to win, but the actual game found the teams evenly matched … until misfortune struck.

The Yadkin River rivalry produced another exciting game.

The next day I watched the University of Oklahoma play the University of Texas in another river rivalry game — the Red River.

Undefeated Oklahoma was a heavy favorite. Texas, 1-4, had been embarrassed in a couple of early season games.

The Sooners quickly fell behind by two touchdowns, but not to worry. They would overcome …

They didn’t. Similar to the Davie-West Forsyth contest the night before, Texas ran for a 97-yard touchdown to befuddle Oklahoma’s late charge to win the game.

Life’s win-loss record usually takes longer to score than the two or three hours it takes to play a football game. But like the games, the odds can’t always predict the outcome. Sometimes the underdog wins.

• • • • •

This is high school reunion season, and I found myself in the middle of three last week: Davie High Class of 1970, Mocksville High Class of 1946 and — by mistake — Cooleemee High Class of 1954. The last two classes were both meeting at the same time in the same restaurant.

I didn’t belong to any of those classes. Elizabeth is a member of the Class of 1970, and I went along as the humble spouse. There is no easier assignment than being the spouse at a class reunion. No pressure. No expectations. No worry about how much I had changed since graduation, how much weight I had gained or alterations in my hair line or hair color.

I assumed the role of trophy husband, stayed close and asked news reporter questions.

It was the best reunion I’ve ever attended.

The Class of 1946, or perhaps 1947, has the distinction of being the first to attend 12 grades. All the earlier classes learned everything in 11 years. This class took longer to bake. Boys in the class could hardly object. World War II might have been waiting on them if they had graduated earlier.

The West Forsyth High Class of 1965 also had its 50th reunion recently. That was the school’s first graduating class. Some members of the class objected loudly when the school observed its 50th anniversary last year. They suggested that someone had trouble with math.

• • • • •

Turning to baseball … Baseball players are notoriously superstitious. So it comes as no surprise that popular singer Taylor Swift has been linked to the misfortunes of three Major League teams — the Nationals, the Padres and the Astros. All three teams were doing well until Miss Swift performed in their arenas. They nose-dived immediately.

My sweet young granddaughter was at the concert at the Nationals stadium for her birthday. A malfunction during the concert left Miss Swift at one point suspended in midair. The Nats had lead their division most of the season. Their’s fortunes quickly spiraled downward. No playoff season for them. Thanks to the Curse of Taylor Swift?

— Dwight Sparks