|‘True’ county jayvee championship may be on the horizon |
|The last time Obion County had a “true” jayvee basketball champion, Troy, Obion, Cloverdale and Dixie were among the list of schools that took part in the tournament. |
It was January 1970 — some 38 years ago — when Union City’s boys hoisted what was then known as the Northwest Tennessee Basketball Association’s trophy after a 56-30 triumph over South Fulton. UC also won the OC league’s football championship in the fall of 1969.
In May of 1970, the members of the Obion County School System’s Principals’ Association voted 5-4 to “merge the Obion County Football and Basketball Association into one and limit its membership to Obion County elementary schools.” With that decision, they eliminated UC from the fray and left the school with no athletic conference in which to play.
However, if Union City Middle School principal/athletic director Dan Boykin and Obion County School System athletic/activities director Robert Powell can get their respective contingents on the same page, the future could see the city school participating in the postseason festivities sometime down the road.
Both Boykin and Powell have expressed an interest in opening dialogue between the two factions and possibly getting Union City into the hunt and turn what is now known as the Obion County School System football and basketball championships into a “true” Obion County title game.
Yet, Boykin knows the road to that desired result could be a rocky one and has a few hurdles to clear if history is an indicator.
“I tried quite a few times to get back into the county’s league,” said Boykin, who came to Union CIty in 1971. “I know the people I talked to within their system seemed receptive to the idea, but I don’t know what went down if they brought it up in administration meetings.
“After trying for so long with no results, though, I kind of gave up and I haven’t been making an attempt to get back in over the past two or three years.”
With Powell’s hiring last spring, a gust of fresh air has been breathed into the situation.
The new OCSS athletic director has expressed an interest in addressing the issue and he is optimistic Union City could compete, once again, with the county schools.
“We’re open to the possibility of meeting with them and getting a feel from their administration,” Powell said. “From my standpoint, I’m all about expanding and enhancing the experience for our kids and, on the surface, it appears that it would add to the element of the county championship.
“If you’re going to have a county tournament, you want the county schools in it. Technically, Union City is a city school, but I look at them as a sister system rather than a competing or adversarial school district. I’d like to explore options where we can work and make each other better in not just this avenue but a lot of others, as well.”
And should Powell, who said he will have to get a feeling from the parents, coaches and communities within the Obion County School System before any decision is made, extend the hand to Boykin, expect UCMS to accept.
“From an administartion standpoint, the benefits of being in the county league can be a cost-cutting measure with the economy in the state that it is,” Boykin explained. “For starters, our buses and parents would not have to travel to places like Halls and Humboldt for district games and they could keep the money they spend at the games within the local school systems and our county.
“I also think both our gates and their gates from county-league games between Union City and Obion County teams would be a great asset for all.”
In competition, Boykin also sees great payoffs should Union City be asked back into the county fold.
“From the vantage point of coaching and playing, it would be good for our kids to play against children from the surrounding towns and help to rejuvenate some geographical rivalries that have not been as evident since the 1960s.”
Despite the good words from both sides, Powell acknowledges it is not his contingent’s battle alone and he also sees the communication between the systems as a two-way street.
“This isn’t about just us reaching out to them,” Powell explained. “I want Union City to reach out to me, too. Hearsay is that they’re interested and that’s great, but I need to talk to their administration and people over there.
“I hope they feel comfortable reaching out to me and find the appropriate time and manner.”
Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.