I’ve been in Fargo for nearly a month and there’s a world of difference between here and Beaumont, Texas.
Beaumont was the last place I lived. I was a high school football coordinator at a paper there. Beaumont is a place where people love football more than life and even some family members. It is why things have been really difficult there the last two weekends.
First, there was Reggie Garrett. He was a 17-year-old quarterback that died after throwing a touchdown pass. Reggie was someone I knew really well.
This weekend, that area lost Curtis Barbay. He was a head coach at a tiny, lumber town in Southeast Texas. He died of a heart attack on Saturday with more than 300 career wins. He was a giant in Texas football. Barbay was a better man. Southeast Texas has its problems, notably race. Yet people like Barbay, who is white, fought that image by helping more black youth go to college and become solid young men.
Saturday was difficult because the last two weekends you’ve talked about death with people back there. Reggie dying was such a shock. Barbay’s death was too. All this shows that no matter how far you go, there are just some ties that are hard to break.
-Ryan S. Clark