It was just like any other week. Getting in the car in a packed parking lot after an Easley High victory, ears still ringing from the celebratory cheers. You might not even know that you had just watched a game at the new facilities.
The atmosphere was the same.
It wasn’t until I was approaching the old Easley High on my journey home that I noticed something odd.
Brice Field was dark, abandoned. The old school was void of lights, cheers, green shirts, fight songs, and even the old bell.
It was a longer drive to Main Street. For the first time in decades, Easley’s home opener didn’t showcase excitement on the only field that most Easley residents have ever known.
If I didn’t know any better; if I had not just come from a place full of intense Friday night football, I would think this was one of the saddest nights in Easley football history.
But it wasn’t.
I had the opportunity to stand on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of Easley’s dramatic win over rival Daniel in the first-ever game at Green Wave Stadium. As Easley lined up on the goal line with about nine minutes to go, I listened as the massive crowd behind me erupted after consecutive touchdowns gave their team a 21-14 lead.
Looking to my left, I saw the bell. It was looking as shiny as it ever has in its new home on the Green Wave Stadium sidelines.
After the game had concluded, and Easley had secured victory, I watched the players run as fast as they could to the band’s new section to sing the alma mater. Coaches and players were jumping up and down in celebration, having just gained a much needed win to push their overall record to a perfect 2-0 on the season.
Beating Daniel is always a goal for this team, but opening the new stadium with a win trumps all other goals.
Sure, it may just be football. A simple sport with two halves and 22 players on the field. But if you were there Friday night, and saw how it brought the community together, you wouldn’t look at it as simply a football game.
For the fans in the stands it was an open house. It was their new home. The lights might not have been on at Brice Field, but they shined brighter than ever at the new stadium.
One thing I learned on Friday was that the spirit of Easley football doesn’t live on a field. Leaving Brice Field doesn’t cause you to forget the memories made there. Moving to a different home is just a scenery change. Believe me when I say the spirit of Green Wave football could be felt anywhere in Easley Friday night.
After all, it was just like any other week of Easley football.