Stephenville, Texas is small. It’s quaint. We value sports. We value rodeo. We love our schools and we care about the town from the inside out. You know your neighbor, you know your neighbor’s mom’s best friend’s brother. You know the drama happening over in Dublin, and the winning streaks in Lingleville and Huckabay (or lack thereof). At the core of Stephenville, there is good natured small town values that draws people to this little town.
But over the past few months, I have been utterly heartbroken by the lack of civility, respect and overall goodness in our small town.
Basketball games have become jeering matches, elections have become bloody races, and small town gossip has manifested into accusations and life altering claims.
Election season is never easy for Stephenville. Cruel gossip flows through the town on each and every candidate. Lies and corruption are revealed and no one knows what to believe, or they pick and choose what they will accept as “their” truth. Respect is thrown out the window, or at least put on the backburner, as soon as another name enters the ticket.
High school sports games are meant to be an outlet for kids to enjoy sports and learn about themselves through it. Parents and coaches have twisted these games into an aggressive game of catcalls and insults aimed at referees and opposing players. These aggressions have affected the students playing, resulting in utter disrespect for any call that is even slightly against their own team.
This is not an endorsement for a candidate or anything of the sort. This is a scolding for the entire town that we know and love. How dare we turn this place into a massacre over trivial things like basketball games and local elections. How dare we allow the next generation to pick up our anger and pettiness and carry it into their future lives.
Sports games are fun and are meant to encourage competition and strength, but dignity and class should never be forgotten.
Local elections are important and we should stay involved, but let’s keep it clean and stick to the truth. Lies and gossip confuse voters and lead to deeper corruption in our city.
Let this be a call to action for schools to encourage their parents and coaches to value respect over a winning game.
Let this be a call to action to candidates to be honest with the people about their past and the actions being called into question.
Let this be a call to action to the people of Stephenville to quit believing every piece of gossip that we come across and to treat others as we wish to be treated. Do not gossip because you’ve seen every movie at the theatre and are too bored to entertain yourself with something more important.
Do not let this town turn into a hub of gossip and corruption. I refuse to accept that fate and I pray you do too.