Meaningful season kicks off
by Jim Gazzolo
Back on Aug. 28, with water filling the bowl of Cowboy Stadium, one wondered when McNeese would get back to playing football.
You could even say it would be a cold day in you know where before this program was back.
Not sure about you know where, but it will be a cold night in Stephenville, Texas that’s for sure.
With the normal college football season opening concerns of heat stroke and dehydration replaced by worries of frostbite and hypothermia, the Cowboys are back playing inside of six months.
“It’s really amazing how far we have come,” said McNeese Athletic Director Heath Schroyer.
The Cowboys open the strange spring season Saturday night against Tarleton State. It is the only game being played nationally on the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
And while it is far from being the final piece in the comeback of McNeese or Lake Charles, it is a big step in bringing some normalcy back to an area that has been ripped apart by a pair of hurricanes.
“We want to give back to the community,” said quarterback Cody Orgeron. “This community has been good to me and I just want to help anyway I can.”
The Cowboys are helping by bringing hope to an area that has been short on that of late.
Yes it is just a football team and yes it is just a football game. However, it means a lot to a lot of people.
The return of football gives people the realization that things do get better, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is also a relief for a few hours in what has become very long days.
“We understand what everybody has been through,” said head coach Frank Wilson, himself making a big of a comeback with his McNeese debut.
“We are a big part of this community and anything we can do to take some troubles out of people’s minds for a short time is great.”
Granted, the excitement for an unknown spring season is a bit tempered by all that has gone on here. And with all the changes little is expected.
But with a new season there is also new hope.
All this makes Saturday’s game the start of something fresh. It also could be the start to a season that is more meaningful for its play than the outcome of the score.
This spring the Cowboys could take the chill out of any lingering cold spell.
*Jim Gazzolo covers McNeese sports for CBS Lake Charles