School ties: Family has fun on both sides of Bridgeport, Decatur rivalry

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, October 27, 2012
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BITTER RIVALS – Mundo Hernandez of Bridgeport (right) attends every Decatur varsity football game in support of his brother-in-law Kevin Lindsey, but Hernandez can’t bring himself to sit on the Decatur side during the Battle of Big Sandy. Messenger photo by Erika Pedroza

Decatur defensive end Kevin Lindsey, a senior, found blue and white feathers in his truck for months after the Battle of Big Sandy last year.

His sisters, both Bridgeport graduates, couldn’t resist pulling a prank on their little brother. He’s the lone Eagle in a family tree stacked with Bridgeport Bulls, and although they’ve been attending Decatur’s games to support Kevin, family ties are tested the week they cross the Big Sandy.

Kevin and his mom, BHS graduate Terri Lindsey, moved to Decatur when Kevin was in the second grade.

“It really wasn’t a big deal then,” said his oldest sister, Donna Hernandez, “because we didn’t think they would stay there permanently.” Donna graduated from BHS in 1997, and their other sister, Leanna Prock, graduated in 2004.

Donna and her husband, Mundo, a 1991 graduate, have teased Kevin every year he’s been in high school, trying to get him to transfer back to Bridgeport.

“We’ve tried and tried,” she said.

Realizing it was likely a lost cause, they decided instead to focus their efforts on supporting Kevin, even if he was wearing blue.

Every week they attend the Decatur High School game instead of Bridgeport’s, a feat that has proven easier for Donna than Mundo.

“I want (Kevin) to know that we support him all the way, no matter where he plays,” Donna said. “I want him to know he’s loved and supported and has us behind him no matter what.

“But Mundo – he’s a Bulls fan. It’s harder for him, but he handles it well,” she said with a laugh.

Mundo begrudgingly attends the Decatur High School game every Friday night, but he refuses to wear royal blue.

Navy blue, baby blue, ocean blue, he’ll sport anything but Decatur blue.

His wife says “Dallas Cowboys blue” is what he usually wears.

“This is as blue as I’m getting,” he says.

But when the two teams meet once a year in the Battle of Big Sandy, all bets are off. Sitting on the Decatur side would be too much to ask of this Bull.

Earlier in the week Mundo planned to wear his favorite maroon shirt Friday night and sit on the Bridgeport side. His wife would sit on the Decatur side.

Last year Donna wore blue and cheered from the Eagle sidelines, changed her Decatur shirt for a halftime presentation with the Bridgeport PTO and attempted to visit the Bulls side before returning to “enemy territory.”

But Mundo kicked her out of the Bridgeport stands. Donna recalled him chasing her away, teasing her, saying she was a traitor. He had a little backup from some Bridgeport fans, too.

“He takes (the rivalry) extremely personal,” Donna said of her husband. “After the Decatur game last week, I said, ‘Oh, yeah. This is the week we’re not friends anymore. I guess I’ll talk to you next Saturday.'”

Tension tends to rise this week for the family, although they admit it’s all in fun.

“We haven’t had any arguments this year,” Kevin said. “But if we win, he likes to say it was because of a bad call or cheap play.”

Donna said last year was rough because Mundo was convinced Bridgeport was going to pull off a win.

“He was very unhappy,” she said, and as if the defeat wasn’t devastating enough, Kevin chalked every one of their vehicle windows and home windows, inside and out, with the score – 30 to 16.

Donna and Kevin like to tease Mundo, but she acknowledges that her husband wants what’s best for Kevin.

“You’ll never hear him say, ‘Go Decatur!’ I just don’t think he could say that. The words wouldn’t come out of his mouth,” she said. “But he wants Kevin to have a good game. He’s not there for the Eagles; he’s just there for Kevin.”

And Mundo admits as much.

“I’ll be on the Bridgeport side, but I’ll be rooting for No. 52,” he said. He hoped for a Bridgeport win, with a good showing by Kevin.

Mundo said by following Kevin, he’s gotten to know a lot of the teenager’s friends and said they’re “pretty cool guys,” and Donna has also become friends with many of the Decatur fans.

They hoped both teams played a good game.

“Their support is a big deal, especially since (Mundo) is such a diehard Bridgeport fan,” Kevin said.

As for next year, the Hernandez family will return to their roots and cheer on the Bulls. Kevin graduates this spring, and Donna and Mundo’s children, Nico, 14; Noah, 12; Nolan, 10; and Nicole, 9, are involved in Bridgeport athletics.

The tables will be turned, and Kevin may find himself in unknown territory – a former Eagle cheering quietly for his niece and nephews.

FAMILY ALLEGIANCE – Sisters Leanna Prock (left) and Donna Hernandez are Bridgeport High School graduates, but they wear blue during football season to cheer on their brother, Kevin Lindsey, a senior at Decatur High School. Submitted photo

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