Who/What are the Ricebirds? Lauren graduated El Campo High School-home of the Ricebirds in 2010. Although our post office is Wharton, Texas, we are districted to El Campo, Texas. When you live in the country, you spend some time on the bus getting to and from school. It is a little over 15 miles one way to El Campo. But pride in Texas is with your high school and El Campo is our school. At just over 11,000 in population, it is the largest city in Wharton County.
Wikipedi Defines Ricebird as follows:
Ricebird is a name for a number of different birds, especially those that feed on paddy fields or on various grains (not necessarily just rice).
I don’t know the history of the decision to name the team after the birds that fly over and live off the plentiful rice fields of our south Texas land, but I can tell you from experience these birds, while small, are persistent, stubborn and determined to get what they want. And so I hope is our Ricebird Football team tomorrow night when they take the field at the Dallas Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas to play for the state title-Division I-3A championship for the first time in 45 years. The 14-0 (yeah baby, totally undefeated) Ricebird squad will take on the Stephenville Yellow Jackets (12-1). Stephenville has made the trip to state championship game a few times in the last several years. The Ricebirds have not.
This great ‘youtube’ video was put together by Molly Kresta and I think the music by Kenny Chesney and the still photos portray a poignant scene. (As an aside, if you think nothing great comes from these little rural high schools, Molly’s son, Eli, is on scholarship at Harvard University.)
Lauren, Blake, his mother Jo Etta and many, many other dedicated fans from our little town of El Campo will make the pilgrimage to the big lights of the Cowboy Stadium. I am sure the players, coaches and cheerleaders, along with all the fans will be a little overwhelmed with the huge, beautiful stadium. But once that kick-off ensues, it will be Texas high school football, just played out in a big arena. The El Campo team boasts three 1000-yard rushers which will at least give the Stephenville team pause when trying to determine coverage. The one thing that El Campo has successfully done in each of its game this year is to win. And if they can manage to pull that off one more time, it will fulfill a lot of small town dreams.
I won’t be with them physically but I will be watching the night sky to the northwest and thinking of them playing under the big lights. I know I will pause and think I can hear the roar of the crowd on the light wind that will surround my farm. I wish them success and hope they return home triumphant! I will keep you posted.