Again, those of you who aren’t into sports can skip today’s Popcorn Stand.
I will be heading down to Central California on Saturday morning to watch my alma mater (Class of 1984), the Strathmore Spartans, host a state playoff game obviously for the first time in school history.
Strathmore will host the Southern Regional Bowl against a school from San Diego (I don’t know the name of the school and quite frankly I don’t care) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. A win would place Strathmore into the state championship game in its division (I don’t know the division and again I don’t care, I just know it’s a small schools division).
Strathmore is a small high school in a small town as the announcer in “Hoosiers” says about Hickory “is barely big enough for three syllables” or in this case, two syllables, although Strathmore is somewhat bigger than fictional Hickory.
If you want a sense of what Strathmore is like, watch the movie “McFarland U.S.A.” if you haven’t already watched it. Although that movie takes considerable license with many of the facts, the basic story of the movie is true and I give the movie a passing grade in great part because of the fact it reminds me of my time at Strathmore. McFarland was in the same league as Strathmore when I went there, so I competed against McFarland many times throughout my high school athletic career.
Now under head coach Jeromy Blackwell (ironically a graduate of rival Lindsay High), Strathmore is 13-0. And as anybody who knows my philosophy can tell you, I believe championship teams “RUN THE FOOTBALL.” Blackwell is a man after my own heart as he believes in a “smashmouth” running attack which the Spartans used to run all over Hanford’s Sierra Pacific 46-20 last week for the section title.
Blackwell is also a man after my own heart because he likes the movie “Tombstone” and when I covered Strathmore while working at the Porterville Recorder and asked him about gaining revenge against an opponent his team previously lost to, he corrected me by saying it wasn’t going to be revenge but a “reckoning.”
Sometimes I don’t know if Blackwell realizes he’s a football coach or thinks he’s a star in a Western movie.
As for me, “Strathmore USA” has a pretty nice ring to it.
— Charles Whisnand