The buzz coming from within the City of Xenia since early September has brought so many needed smiles and optimism to Greene County.
An early season showdown for the Xenia Buccaneers football team hosting Piqua was a proving ground if the team was potentially for real or not.
A few weeks later, a trip by Tippecanoe to Doug Adams Stadium was an anticipated showdown between what turned out to be the top-two teams in the Miami Valley League both to that point and at the end of the regular season.
When Little Miami made the trip from Morrow for round one of the playoffs, the juice being produced felt like it could have powered parts of the city.
Not all of the results turned out the same. The season certainly did not end in a way many expected.
There was one link between those games and others which showed why football can create things which are bigger than the results on the field.
Camaraderie is important. Business, friendship, life. All just makes you feel good.
I grew up within Preble County in a small village. The type of place where everyone knows everyone that wants to be involved in the community and who also is the couple not to knock on their door because they just want to be left alone. It feels safe to assume from the small enrollment number that more people from that area didn’t have direct relatives in the school system than those that did, but it felt like everyone still came out and supported the local teams with pride.
In my visits to local villages Jamestown and Cedarville over the past year-plus, I have gotten the closest experiences to these sensations from my youth. They do a wonderful job of being there.
That’s all that really needs to be done for local athletes is to be there.
Does everyone in Xenia know one another? The city is a little big for that. But when you’re sitting next to thousands of others at the same event in support of your community, your neighbors, your school system, a common bond is created. Camaraderie is achieved.
The 2022 Xenia football team is to be commended for its time, effort, and entertainment on the field. Off of it, they brought together the area in a way which began with some careful susurration to one another and grew into emphatic excitement.
Signs were put on display as you entered into the city. Windows of downtown businesses got the painted treatment showing their support. The amount of people which came out close to 11 p.m. on a Friday evening to greet the team after its undefeated regular season. How many “undefeated 10-0” shirts which could be seen at the playoff game. The line at the entry gate began to wrap itself around the parking lots surrounding the stadium.
Xenia head coach Maurice Harden spoke several times throughout the season about the support from the Xenia area and how he and the team felt it each week. The show they wanted to put on for their community was a weight willing to be carried and the team came through each night.
Friday nights in the fall at many places across our country see their communities pay heed to the gridiron. Ohio is no exception.
Xenia displayed it certainly doesn’t need to be excluded from those lists. And I hope we see it continue not only next fall, but in the immediate future as well.