Saturday, December 12, 2009
Fun In Flint! - Way To Go, Mark Ingram!
Tonight, I watched Mark Ingram, a Sophomore at the University of Alabama, win the Heisman Trophy. While damn near every year various NCAA athletes get declared Heisman material all season long only to disappear from the running by season's end, Ingram's name has been bandied about as a contender for the fabled award all year long. He more or less clinched it last week in a decisive win for the Crimson Tide over Florida where Ingram personally scored three touchdowns and ran for 113 yards.
Now, despite having played football for six years as a teenager (well, "played") I don't follow sports much in general and football barely at all. But if you haven't guessed it by the title, I've been following along Ingram's season this year as he's a Flint native. In fact, the young man went to my same high school for the first few years of his prep career (the school in the nearby "white flight" suburb town of Grand Blanc) before transferring to Flint's Southwestern High where I took swimming lessons as a kid. And I don't mention all this because I think it means there's any real connection between the two of us. However, during his acceptance speech (which got pretty emotional), Ingram repeatedly thanked the people of Flint for supporting him and reminding him that they were proud whether he won or not. And that's a good thing to hear from your home town and about your home town when most of the time the national media only talks about the local murder rate.
It's really weird. This season, the Grand Blanc High football team (and all GB high school sports) officially switched leagues in order to play bigger, closer schools in the massive Detroit suburban ring of communities. In effect, Grand Blanc leaving the "Big Nine" conference killed that league of schools drawn from suburban Flint while the Metro League which Southwestern is a part of has been slowly degrading for years. As I've been watching Ingram this year, I keep worrying that we'll be seeing fewer and fewer young people from the community break out into the NFL or other professional sports (Flint schools, as you can imagine, aren't in the best of shape these days). It sucks that while there are plenty of people still working to ignite a revival in parts of Flint proper, many from the surrounding community continue to cite the town as a lost cause. But you know what? Fuck thinking about that anymore for today.
Mark Ingram had a great season this year, has a great career ahead of him and did a lot to make Flint proud this week. That's a pretty great thing, no matter what the times. Congrats, sir.