I am the proud cousin of a decorated Battle of Big Sandy war hero.
As much as she’d like to leave her heroic feats in the past, community members hold Cindy in high regard this one week every year.
She defended her own.
During the 2001 matchup between Decatur and Bridgeport, a Decatur cheerleader attacked the Bulls’ mascot – Cindy’s childhood best friend. Cindy, a usually sweet and harmless girl, effortlessly pried the petite, blonde girl off and firmly shoved her away.
I’m sure there were a few choice words exchanged, but the incident didn’t escalate much beyond that.
But the fact the team’s film crew cut away from the game to capture the 14-second skirmish has haunted Cindy since.
Without fail, every year during the Battle of Big Sandy week she receives at least one email with a link to the video. And the mortification sets in.
It’s only embarrassing because fighting is so out-of-character for Cindy, one of the most compassionate and loving people I know. But with so much caring comes the flip side – the protective, defensive mother hen instinct that kicks in when you mess with one of her brood.
I’m not condoning acts of violence and defacement, and I realize that there are always a few pranks that cross the line.
But protecting your own is the premise behind all the fun that is the Battle of Big Sandy week.
From camping out in front of the high school or football field with classmates, to filling the pickup bed of an Eagles fan with blue and white feathers to decking out the town west of the creek in blue streamers – it’s about school spirit and fostering a cohesive environment in which students and a community unite.
It’s about creating memories and showing support.
There’s nothing pathetic about that.
Erika Pedroza is a Messenger reporter.