Yes, you can teach an old blog new tricks. The River City Communicator blog now enters a new frontier for the RTV3303 class (Writing and Reporting for Electronic News) in FSCJ’s Converged Communications program. Over the next three-plus months, this blog will be loaded with perspectives, insights, and stories from the world of high school sports in Northeast Florida. In other words, you’ll find news here that goes well beyond the box score. This blog delves into the side stories that are only known to the people that immerse themselves in the world of the Friday night lights.
Now, for the first installment of the RTV3303 blog in action. What would happen if people made history and nobody showed up? That’s nearly what happened last Saturday when White High School took on rival Westside High School, the former Forrest High School. For those who haven’t followed this story, the school was originally named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general during the Civil War who later served as leader of the Ku Klux Klan. (For further background of the naming controversy, check this report from CNN.) Over the years, the school’s name attracted mounting criticism. In late 2013, the Duval County School Board voted to change the school’s name, transforming the sports program from the Forrest Rebels to the Westside Wolverines. This was the first meeting of the bitter rivals since the name change.
There was just one problem, though: Hardly anyone attended the game.
Heavy rainfall at White postponed the game from Friday night to Saturday at noon, and it showed. What was missing from the rescheduled contest? Just about everything that makes high school football what it is. Players passed and ran, blocked and tackled without bands, cheerleaders, music, or a public address announcer. A tiny crowd of about 120 fans attended the game at kickoff, although more trickled in during the afternoon. Even the concession stands were closed. On the field, the host Commanders gave the Wolverines a rude welcome to the rivalry’s second chapter, thumping Westside by a score of 59-0. The result was nothing new: White has won the last eight clashes between the schools.
Here’s a link to my game report for the Florida Times-Union.