Paris made the more than two-and-a half hours trip to South Arkansas on Friday to play new conference opponent Bismarck. The community of Bismarck is just southwest of Hot Springs and just a few minutes north of Lake DeGray. Quite a road trip in the new 3A-4 conference, but a travel requirement for all conference member teams. Paris has struggled both at home and on the road, but it always seems to the players and coaches that road losses are especially hard. It can seem like everyone is against you, and being successful on the road requires focus on the job at hand. And in the words of a famous college football coach who spoke of playing on the road; “Nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems.” In other words, everything seems amplified and more urgent when momentum shifts, crowd noise, or even tempers flare.
All of that happened on Friday night, including a brief incident that involved players from both sidelines rushing the field. The incident resulted in off-setting unsportsmanlike penalties called on both teams, and each team had a player ejected.
With respect to the game itself, there just is not much one can say or report. The problems for Paris have continued; the team is inexperienced and over matched with virtually every opponent. Conference opponents have experienced and talented players, and Paris is simply in a re-building mode after having lost a talented and large class to graduation in 2021. It is going to take time.
But in the mean time, the players, coaches, managers, statisticians…everyone, are doing all that they can, and they simply can’t make a bad situation any better. The players continue to play their hearts out. The coaches are trying to come up with any idea or new wrinkle that they can that will create some success. In perhaps the most overused phrase ever known to man…”it is what it is.”
Paris returns home for a two-week home stretch in their schedule that will include Jessieville next week, and Two Rivers the following week for homecoming. Both games are opportunities for Paris to compete. This group of young players needs their fans to show up big for both weeks.
I know I am full of cliches tonight, but, one that I can’t help but to think of is that you don’t find out the true character of a person until you put them under the pressure of adversity. Well folks, the Paris community has been through an awful lot over the past few months…dating back to July and a terrible storm that left so many people without power, air conditioning, and even water. And our community made it back…our town’s true character shined through.
Tragedy struck our town several days ago. And although we may never be the same again, many people have pushed through the shock, have gone to work, have hugged their kids a little tighter, and have persevered through the sadness. But on a less-important level, the football team is struggling.
Paris, it is fun to win. Everyone enjoys wining. But the players themselves are playing hard on every down. You can be very proud of them and the coaching staff. They are all fine men, and our town can be very proud.
So, Paris, show your pride, and one more time, let your character shine through. Show up big Friday, and show this team just how proud you are of them.
It is a time to show everyone….PARIS STRONG!