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Off the Field – Don't fret, Blue Nation (Oct. 15, 2014 issue of The Erwin Record)

I’m a glass-half-full-kind-of-guy. That is one thing that will never change.
It was something I can say that didn’t develop once I took the job at The Erwin Record. Call it a product of my raising – we’ll save that story for the autobiography about 30 years from now.
I have no right coming off as a wise old man just to give lectures. I started in the journalism profession when I was 19 years old. I’ll be 23 at the end of this month. But I can say I’ve been on both spectrums. There are a long list of positives: the first place awards, dealing with amazing coaches, traveling across states and making great friendships along the way.
I’ve also had the struggles of meeting a deadline, getting a cold shoulder for an interview and rejection for writing a story – all for just trying to do my job.
Now don’t let me lose you just yet, we’re getting somewhere.
Leaving Gentry Stadium Friday night after the UCHS loss to Johnson County on homecoming night had me thinking.
It was the normal Friday night routine, interview coaches, players, etc.
But it has not be a normal 2014 season.
The Blue Devils currently sit at 0-7 on the year. It has been a situation of an offseason hiring, a midseason resignation, then a quick retooling to finish the year on a respectable note.
The coaching staff and kids have made no excuses. It is not the way the season was expected to go.
But as mathematics teaches, you multiply a couple of negatives, you get a positive.
The UCHS coaches have had to quickly retool the offense and defense and the team has been more competitive the past three games then the previous four. Moral victories are moral victories, take them as they are.
You don’t count them in the win or loss column, but this group has seen both ends of the spectrum.
The team has put a scare into its past three opponents and that is a credit to the kids and coach staff. UCHS has the right staff in place to make something happen with head coach Glenn White and company.
And the players are noticing that.
Of course there’s disappointment after a loss, but the athletes are still going back to the drawing board to turn negatives into positives. Instead of sulking, they’re asking what to do better and wanting to do it.
Scares are normal during the month of October. But I have a feeling the team will be able scratch away the word “moral” before a victory before the season ends and have full steam going into next year.
It may be that glass-half-full attitude coming out in me, but don’t fret Blue Nation. Positives come from negatives … and that’s something this wannabe-wise sage can vouch for.
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Unicoi County High School’s football game against Elizabethton on Oct. 24 will bring an interesting twist to Gentry Stadium.
The Blue Devils have had “Pink Out” games in the past. With players wearing pink socks, armbands, etc. … but the support of breast cancer awareness will be a bit more visible this year with UCHS wearing pink jerseys during the game thanks to Unicoi County Farm Bureau.
“This is the third year in a row Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee has been the statewide partner of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,” said Cara Ledbetter, community events specialist for the American Cancer Society. “This is the American Cancer Society’s signature event to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer. To date, Farm Bureau has raised more than $600,000 for the Society.”
Pink uniforms, supplied by Farm Bureau, have made appearances all across the state at high schools and the Blue Nation’s players will have opportunities to take home their uniforms to remember the night.
Unicoi County Farm Bureau is taking bids on jerseys and donations from local businesses to sponsor the jerseys so that players can keep them. For more information, call Farm Bureau at 743-9136.
It will be a night that showcases more than 48 minutes of Blue Devil football. It is a night for the community to rally together and combat the disease – as one Blue Nation family.
“Unicoi County High School and the entire community are responding wonderfully to the leadership of Mark Peterson and all the people at Unicoi County Farm Bureau,” Ledbetter said. “It means so much to breast cancer survivors and their families to know that their neighbors care about them in such a visible way.”
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Follow me on Twitter: @CurtisCarden_ER.