TIFTON — Electrical power went through the roof Jan. 7, Saturday morning at Tift County Substantial Faculty. The very first at any time Winter Homecoming was to acquire position in a several hrs and basketball teams, cheerleaders and a handful of alumni preferred to make absolutely sure they have been ready for it.
A pep rally combined these groups at the health and fitness center. What began with speakers gave way to contests and loads of buzz.
Travis Williams, a previous Blue Satan who has had a very long history of achievement coaching basketball in large college and college or university, designed the push down from Atlanta Saturday morning. While active arranging the 2nd once-a-year HBCU All-Star sport, Williams caught around all working day and evening, observing his alma mater arrive away with a double victory from Thomas County Central.
Williams was one particular of the principal speakers at the pep rally, telling the Tift youth how his story commenced on a avenue just like their very own. Born to a youthful mother, he missing her when she was 30 several years old and Williams was 12.
“I was in a position to use sports, basketball, to concentrate,” Williams claimed. He credited head coach Tommy Blackshear with setting up the rest of his existence. “I keep in mind it like yesterday,” claimed Williams. Blackshear questioned what his young player planned to do following superior college. Williams’ options were being becoming a member of the military and Blackshear needed to know if he’d viewed as college.
No a person in Williams’ household experienced attended college, but he listened to his coach and bought on a collegiate tutorial route at Tift County Large. “He considered in me,” stated Williams, calling it a turning stage in his everyday living. Not only did he perform collegiate basketball at Ga Condition, not only did he graduate, but Williams attained a masters degree.
From there, Williams commenced his coaching occupation, which took him to East Tennessee Condition, Fort Valley Point out and Georgia Condition, as very well as to Maynard Jackson Substantial School in Atlanta.
Williams claimed his query to the youth was, “What’s your DNA? What is your future action?”
Moreover the coaching vocation, he has also develop into a major identify in the promotion of Historically Black Schools and Universities (HBCUs) and served them associate with CBS final 12 months for the basketball All-Star activity. Williams is still in awe of his purpose. “A Black gentleman from Tifton, Georgia, launched it and founded it.”
“It goes to display you, whatever’s in your DNA,” reported Williams, “you can do it.”
Blackshear mentioned Tift was instilling its mentality in gamers from the sixth quality up. “Making no excuses and just attempt hard,” he mentioned. “Sometimes you really don’t get what you want out of it, but you’re still undertaking a mentality to develop into prosperous.”
The attitude extends significantly over and above basketball, Blackshear stated. He informed the gamers that, by Tift’s custom, the mentality of success prolonged to their mothers and fathers, their coaches and community businesspeople.
Blackshear spoke of the late Anthony Bateman, about Bateman’s perseverance. A point guard on the 1st Tift staff Blackshear coached on as an assistant (1985-86), Bateman became deeply entwined with the athletic applications for decades to appear.
Bateman assisted basketball, soccer and track. Considering that his passing in 2019, Bateman’s legacy has been hooked up to the youth centre around Matt Wilson Elementary, to Tift’s significant monitor meet and to an yearly basketball problem.
Devotion was critical to Bateman and Blackshear asked teams at the pep rally a question really vital to the late coach. “Are you all in?,” Blackshear questioned them. It was a team response: “All in.”
When Williams took above the boys basketball crew at Maynard Jackson, he introduced the squad down to the Tifton McDonald’s Invitational, where by they played — and have been handed their initial decline by — the Blue Devils. He stated it was significant to the Jackson little ones to see Tifton. “To demonstrate them how we do matters,” Williams mentioned, referring to the banners on the wall. “We have a good deal of record and custom.”
Tift is 1 of the few gymnasiums that not only shows state championship banners, but also point out final fours and area championships.
Blackshear claimed that Tift County Faculties is devoted to growing Winter season Homecoming. The announcement of homecoming queen has generally been through football time and, at Tift, the homecoming king has been announced at the dance the night soon after the homecoming recreation. He stated in the future that homecoming king may possibly be connected to the Winter Homecoming.
“This detail is heading to get more substantial and larger and greater,” he reported.
Eighth quality squads ended up invited to the pep rally with the ninth grade, junior varsity and varsity teams. Blackshear mentioned he hoped everyone there could get far better acquainted.
Both of those Blackshear and Girl Devils head mentor Julie Conner have credited Winter Homecoming as remaining the brainchild of Maria Jacobs.
Subsequent the speeches, attendees have been broken down into sections of “old-school” and “new school,” with a large school graduation yr of 2010 to individual them for competitors. The most spirited of these was a cheering contest for a spirit adhere. Outdated-college introduced back again a couple of cheers of their generations and assistant mentor Vernon Moore busted out his M.C. Hammer dance moves. Earlier, Blackshear experienced demonstrated a handful of moves of his own.