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The Anatomy Of A Streak

There’s a Toby Keith song in which he insists he is tired of talking about his significant other because “I wanna talk about me … What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see …”

Given that attitude at the moment, and as I posted/tweeted Friday night from John Needham Stadium, I attended my 300th straight Booneville High School football game.

The streak covers the last 13 games under Doug Scheel, all 208 under Kenneth Rippy and the, to-date, 79 of Scott Hyatt. The last time I didn’t attend a game was Labor Day weekend in 1989 at Prescott.

I still haven’t been to Prescott but the streak has taken me all over this state. There were games in McGehee and Star City, Rivercrest and Osceola, Nashville and Fountain Lake, Gravette and Yelleville, and various points in between, including Little Rock.

With that many road trips there have been threats of an interruption. A fender bender one night caused me to arrive at the last second, as did the weather on occasion. There was also the time my truck broke down and I was picked up by the cheerleader bus.

Because no streak description is complete with a what-the-world-was-like-then reference, back when this streak started in 1989, the first George Bush had moved into the White House just over seven months prior and Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been the Soviet president for less than four months.

Billboard says the top song of 1989 was “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins. I don’t really remember that one much but “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was number 4 and is still Billy Joel’s best song.

Big movies were Cocktail, When Harry Met Sally, Dead Poets Society and Back to the Future 2, but that’s enough of that.

If asked to pick my favorite games of the streak, many would be rather predictable I’m afraid, but what the heck, you have to start with the 2000 title game 29-21 win over Nashville. Like Friday in Pottsvile, six sacks.

If you were a regular reader of the countdown to football posts on my Facebook page, you know I’m partial to the 70-28 beat-down of the University of Shiloh in 2004. Also, who could forget the 2008 playoff game at Malvern when Juan Rios’ field goal with 0.3 seconds to go won it, 30-29.

Another of my all-time favorites is the 56-48 win over that team up north in 1999. I have watched one particular play from that game this year – it’s almost a seasonal ritual. The 27-26 game with Clarksville with all the blocked kicks in 2001 and the blocked field goal in the closing seconds on a frigid night in Gentry in 1991 come to mind as well.

There was the streak of five straight games of scoring 42 points to open the 1998 season, the 23-game winning streak from 2000-2001 was also memorable.

Losses can be memorable, I guess, but I’m only going to mention the 2001 title game. It was a classic. I own a copy, but cannot bring myself to watch it yet because it’s still too vivid.

For the record, Booneville’s record in the last 300 games is 240-60, or exactly an .800 winning percentage. Oddly, while we’re on round numbers, the wife has been with me, at least in part, for 180 of the last 300 games, last missing a 61-point game in Paris in 1999 due to a family illness.

I was tickled that Friday’s 300th straight game was a win but not so much to make all those nice round numbers in the last paragraph, but particularly because that was win number 667 for the program, and I didn’t want the count to stay on the previous number any longer than necessary.

Since the 300th straight game came in Pottsville, I guess it bears mentioning that Pottsville’s football program didn’t even exist when the streak started.

In case you’re wondering, the streak, I assume, is the longest active. Coach David Beckham stopped his after he left the sideline a couple years ago. I counted them once and it was 399 or 400.

Also, in case you’re wondering, I also haven’t missed a junior high game since 1990. One of these days I may figure out how many in a row that is.

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