The Timmonsville Whirlwinds :A story of overcoming
The Timmonsville Whirlwinds :A story of overcoming
By Natasha Dowdy Gordon
There are not many people in this world who can find the strength and the power to knock down the walls of doubt and negativity, but somehow the football team at Timmonsville High School, located in the tiny town of Timmonsville, S. C. managed to do just that.
When the football season began, the Timmonsville Whirlwinds took some big hits, both literally and figuratively.
In the grand scheme of things, the town of Timmonsville was considered an after-thought in terms of the political eliteand the decision makers in what is known as the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.
As far as the town goes, it wasn’t until Mayor Darrick Jackson was elected to his first term and he took on the “Good Ole’ Boy” system in South Carolina, and sued Governor Mark Sanford over his handling of over $450,000 that was intended for rural development projects, that people started to see that some of the residents in the town of Timmonsville had grown tired and weary of the ways that the powers that be had been operating.
People were indeed waking up in the sleeping little town of Timmonsville, but nobody could have ever predicted what was about to happen to an entire town that had been riddled by abuse, oppression, poverty, and hopelessness.
People have turned the phrase, “Our children are our future into a cliché”, but in the case of the football team and the student body of Timmonsville High School, the kids proved that they are not just the future of Timmonsville, but they lead by example and now stand as a resilient and out-standing example of what true courage, a will to survive, and grit looks like for people all over the United States.
The Timmonsville Whirlwinds started off their season playing in equipment that needed replacing, on a field that could really use some sprucing up, and a field house that looks more like a shack than some-place you would expect to find a football team going over plays, and formulating strategies.
At one point there were not even enough uniforms for the cheerleaders to wear. As a part of Florence School District 4, Timmonsville High School is left out of the loop when it comes down to dollars and cents.
Although the Whirlwinds had a team of talented players, they started off their season with a record of 0-4. The Whirl-winds were taking a beating on and off of the field, as even the most supportive fans began to cast them off, and toss them to the side.
The talk among the town’s people that could be heard along the streets, in churches, and even at the local grocery store was that the football team was a complete waste, and that there was absolutely no need to throw any type of support its way.
As the losses continued to pile up, the more the negativity swirled around the team and then one day something happened. “I went to the gym one day, and I told the guys, “Hey, don’t get discouraged. You guys are much better than you think that you are, and you will need to shake off all of the negative things that you hear out there on the street,” said Dr. James McCall. “The next thing that I knew, the players had a meeting with their coach, figured some things out and the difference in what they were, and what they became was like night and day,” McCall continued.
As it would turn out, it was the players that made the decision that they were going to prove all of their naysayers wrong.
“We had some players that really stepped up their game on the field, and off of the field,” Coach William “Bill” Tate stated. “Some of the guys really pulled the team together, and from there, the team pulled the student body, the town, and people in surrounding areas together.”
The kids made the decision that they were going to do every-thing that they could to make sure that people knew that they were not losers in life or on the field, so they banded together, washed cars, sold baked goods, and pooled their funds to make sure that they got their team where they knew that it could be.
“People everywhere were cheering for Timmonsville,” Coach Tate said. The truth of the matter is that everybody loves a winner, and win and win big is exactly what the Timmonsville Whirlwinds did.
The Whirlwinds played with the hearts of lions, and all of the determination of a steam engine locomotive. The Whirl-wind train roared down the track, and demolished any and everything that was standing in its path. The Whirlwinds not only won their division, but they went on to play for the South Carolina Division I championship with an abundance of fans cheering them on, and the hopes and the spirits of an entire town resting on their shoulders.
The Whirlwinds proved just how powerful and productive youth in the United States can be when given a chance. They also proved that kids will organize and band together to work towards a common goal, and that they are capable of doing so on their own.
Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned from the students at Timmonsville High School is that adults and the policy makers all over the United States have to put an end to counting kids out because they live in a certain geographical area, or because they look a certain way.
The students at Timmonsville High School stood up for themselves, and for youth all over the country and shouted, “We are going to make it in spite of what you say about us, and in spite of the road blocks that you put in our way.”