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Don’t mess up a good thing

Savannah Biggs is known as ‘˜Noodles’ due to her long, blonde and curly hair. She is a pint sized powerhouse on the soccer field and, over the weekend at the Atlanta Peach Classic tournament, she emerged as a profile in courage and a shining example to her PC Fury teammates. The Fury closed out play last fall with a promising finish but, over the winter break, five players left the team for other teams or other sports. The Fury started the season with nine players. Noodles moved up an age classification to give the Fury a bit of depth. This lack of depth led to some tiring contests but the girls got a lot of playing time, drastically improved their conditioning and grew both individually and as a team under coach Don Bohensky. The season ending tournament final pitted the Fury against a team from Alabama that was talented and deep. They were so talented that they did not have to play dirty but chose to do so anyway. Noodles took two vicious, deliberate elbows to the head from girls much larger than her. She was stoic but came off the field following the second blow in tears. She sat on the bench with an ice pack on her head, gathered herself and then a steely look of determination fell over her face and a valiant glint flashed in her eyes. She went back in and went to war with the same girl who had tried to take her out and gave more than she got. The game ended in defeat but Noodles and the Fury proved to be the kind of team people would come to watch even if they didn’t have a daughter on the team. A foreign coach with a state high school title under his belt was impressed, lauded the team and said they, too, can win a title if they stick together. The Fury’s world will change in the fall. They move to Athena play, the Olympic sized field and will play 11 on 11 as opposed to eight on eight. Depth will be paramount and tryouts loom on the horizon. There are also questions regarding the future of the Pike Soccer Association through which the team is sanctioned. Local government and its appointed authority want to take over the program which is now run by soccer enthusiasts and dedicated parents. Government never runs things better than motivated individuals and parents but, perhaps, this will prove to be the exception. Or, perhaps, not. So, a doff of the editorial cap is due to Noodles and her teammates Shelbie Bohensky, Josephine Butler, Bailie Garland, Livia Lanier Geiger, Hailey Hadsell, Jodi Hearn, Dakota Housman, Brooke Shavers and Paige Woods. They are tough, hard-nosed winners developed in the Pike soccer program and there are hundreds of others out there just like them coming up through the ranks. Here’s hoping politics, power and posturing won’t mess up a good thing. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and the Pike County Journal Reporter.

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