I was wandering through one of the many historic downtown squares in my hometown of Savannah, Georgia, one summer evening several years ago when I ran across a drama group from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
They were hosting a Night of Improv. For the uninitiated, which I was, it involves a group of actors who make up a story as they go along. Somehow my family coaxed me into joining the fray, and thus began and ended a promising career in Hollywood.
I couldn’t help thinking of that last week as the drama that is George Walton Academy football unfolded. For the Bulldogs, and dozens of their counterparts across the state, it was yet another example of making things up as the season progresses.
To recount, two weeks ago, GWA learned its previously scheduled opponent, Union County, had to cancel because one of its players had been exposed to COVID-19. That left GWA scrambling to fill the void.
The search led to a small hamlet in the Appalachian Mountains of southeast Tennessee, where tiny Copper Basin High School agreed to travel to Monroe for a ballgame last Friday. Chances are, neither school was aware the other existed until they agreed to meet on the gridiron.
It certainly made for an interesting story. Back in the mid-19th century, the area was a copper mining mecca. Around the time of the Civil War, mining operations began smelting copper, which led to acid rain, resulting in an ecological disaster which devastated the area and turned it into a toxic waste site.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. The area was cleaned up, refurbished, and turned into a prime destination for hikers, rafters, and nature lovers of all kinds.
Unfortunately, the game never happened. Just days before kickoff, a couple of GWA players tested positive for the virus, forcing not only the cancellation of the game, but leaving the team in lockdown for two weeks. As a result, the Bulldogs were forced to find a way to reschedule their game against former region rival Hebron Christian, which was set for Friday.
This wasn’t the first time a local squad was effected by the virus. Just last week, Monroe Area finally filled a void in its schedule, replacing Clarkston with Madison County. I’m guessing this is going to be a common occurrence as the season progresses.
Among their many other responsibilities, head coaches have had to become last-minute booking agents. And when this happens, game planning will be done on the fly.
One thing about improv is you never know how the story might end. In the saga that is the 2020 prep football season, you never know what a week will bring.