Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
High school practice jogs the
old memory banks
It is yet another sign that football is just around the
The state opened high school football practice on Monday
night. It’s an extremely early date, but many schools are playing endowment
games on August 15th.
School starts in Pitt County on August 11th. That is just
way too early for me.
In fact, many area schools will have played three games
before East Carolina even tees it up, and the Pirates open early this year.
There is some outstanding talent in Eastern North Carolina.
The top running back around, Andre Brown, plays his games about 2 miles from
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. It sure would be nice to see Mr. Brown in purple and
gold next year.
Word on the street is that assistant J.B. Grimes’ son will
be one of the big guys paving the way for Brown this year with the Rose
I saw East Carolina assistant coach Jerry McManus’ son,
Ryan, at Conley on Monday night. The younger McManus is an outstanding
athlete, but he’ll have his hands full calling the signals for a very young
I didn’t get down to see them on Monday night, but New Bern
is expected to be very good again this year.
Historically, our area features some great prep football
programs and outstanding coaches. These guys work very hard — and many go on
to form the cornerstone for East Carolina in recruiting.
Obviously, the Pirates have expanded their recruiting base
with John Thompson as coach. But Thompson will be the first one to tell you
that you still have to get the blue chippers from your own backyard in order
to be successful.
Emotions at practice
I was never a great high school football player, but being
back on the field is like an intense trip back in time...
Watching the guys run gassers, smelling the freshly cut
grass and the not so fresh sweat, hearing the piercing sound of the whistle,
trying to figure out just how much time was left in practice... trying to
figure out if I could get a date for after the game that Friday, wondering
if I would have time to study after practice, wondering if I could ever do
anything to please the coach... wearing that jersey on Friday to school,
standing for the national anthem, running through the cheerleaders and onto
the field, delivering that first hit... surviving that first hit, getting
yelled at during halftime, hearing the band finishing up, running back on
the field, winning the game... taking off the jersey for the last time.
Yes, I rambled. But these are my thoughts as high school
football kicks off. I told the guys on Monday that these were the best days
of their lives.
Man, was it a blast! I can only imagine what it would have
been like with just a little bit of talent!
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