No more teachers, no more books.
Due to Hurricane Matthew, such has been the reality for students on the Grand Strand, with school doors shut as officials survey damage as a result of the tropical cyclone.
For sure, some are loving several days away from the classroom and the free time that comes with it. On the other hand, all extracurricular activities have been canceled, bringing the fall sports schedule to a screeching halt – including football games on Friday nights.
Accustomed to the structure the typical school day brings, it comes as no surprise that some area football players are having trouble filling their time.
“There’s not really much to do. But I’ve watched a lot of film on teams we got coming up, and I’ve tried my best to stay in shape,” said Myrtle Beach linebacker Dlanor Tilton. “Words can’t express honestly … I miss the Friday night lights so much. I think I speak for my whole team when I say we’re just ready to get back on the field and get to business.”
Staying in shape certainly is a popular pastime for most local players during the past several days, in addition to the prospect of catching up on classwork, which North Myrtle Beach running back T.J. Gore has done to consume his time.
“Training, stretching and catching up on work,” the Chiefs junior standout said. “I mean, we kinda need this time to rest our bodies, but just gotta take it game by game.”
Even as some pursue gains in the weight room, others are filling their time by assisting fellow community members affected by Hurricane Matthew.
Through the years, Conway head football coach Chuck Jordan has won his share of football games. But he’d rather be known less for his work on the gridiron, and more for helping those in need.
With this in mind, Jordan and Conway city councilman and play-by-play man for Conway High football radio broadcasts Ashley Smith put their heads together shortly after the storm to identify areas of concern in the municipality.
(Conway football coach Chuck Jordan) teaches so much more than football to his players. I love seeing young people taking ownership of their community. Step one in making this world a better place starts locally.
Conway city councilman and high school play-by-play man Ashley Smith
On Monday, the two of them and a number of Tiger athletes made their way to homes in the area of Cherry Hill Baptist Church, assisting older residents without resources to clear trees and debris from their yards. The following day they were at it once again, with a larger crew ready to work.
“Seeing the kids ‘want to do it’ was the best part,” Smith said. “People were with tears in their eyes after we left their house.”
Eventually, the games will resume and life will return to a relative normalcy for most. But the hope of both Smith and Jordan is that though the scars of Hurricane Matthew may never truly heal, those affected will also accompany the storm’s wrath with the kindness of fellow community members eager to serve.
“Coach Jordan teaches so much more than football to his players. I love seeing young people taking ownership of their community,” Smith said. “Step one in making this world a better place starts locally.”