October 19, 2022


‘Our Town, Our Field, Our Game’

Georgetown football banner upsets East View High School community


news photo

A photo circulating online shows a banner used at Friday’s game.

 

By KATHERINE ANTHONY

Some football fans think teasing in the rivalry between the Georgetown High School Eagles and East View High School Patriots went too far Friday night. Eagles football players burst onto Birkelbach Field through a banner proclaiming, “Our Town, Our Field, Our Game,” against their intown opponents. 

Some East View students and parents took umbrage, venting on social media through the weekend and posting and re-posting a photo of the banner. Though located on the GHS campus, Birkelbach is the home field to both Georgetown-based teams, and the Patriots were the game’s designated home team.

EVHS parent Charlotte Crary was at the game. 

“The overall vibe was that East View was not welcome at the game,” she said. “The kids felt rejected.” 

The banner, she said, was emblematic of how East View is perceived in Georgetown. 

“I have witnessed so much division and experienced how hard it is for East View to fundraise, get sponsorships or have any community support in Georgetown,” she said Monday.

She said, in her opinion, “remarks about EVHS are often derogatory and racist. The banner was just another passive-aggressive way to let EVHS families know they aren’t welcome in Georgetown.”

Others, however, posted on social media that the banner represented a normal cross-town football rivalry and chided EVHS fans for being too sensitive. Comments ranged from “good fun” to “cry me a river” to “trash talk is part of the sport.” 

At Monday’s GISD trustee meeting, Superintendent Fred Brent commented upon the sign’s appearance at the game. 

“As superintendent and as a dad, no one believes the message on that sign,” he said. “I’m sorry it happened. It was not the sentiment of the board, me, administration or school communities.”

Mr. Brent commended the “bridge-building efforts” of the high schools’ principals and said he is “excited about the future we’re building together.”

The banner was created by GHS cheerleaders, GISD Communications Director Melinda Brasher said Monday. She said it was made for a previous GHS football game and repurposed for the East View game.

Despite how the banner was perceived by some East View fans, Ms. Brasher pointed to instances of unity between the two schools. The GHS Georgettes, Eagle Band, EVHS Sparklers, and Patriot Band performed together during halftime, she said.

GHS and EVHS do not play each other every football season. Schedules are determined by the University Interscholastic League, Ms. Brasher said. GHS won Friday’s game, 59-19.

Both schools’ principals addressed the banner’s display in letters to their communities.

“I want to be clear that this sign was hurtful and has angered many of us in the EVHS family,” EVHS principal Alfonso Longoria said. “The sentiment implied is not an acceptable one and has no place in a community that aspires to be one.”

Mr. Longoria said, as soon as the game ended, he received multiple apologies via text and phone calls from GHS principal Brian Johnson.

“We have been working very hard behind the scenes with our administration teams to collaborate and bring our school communities together,” he said.

Mr. Johnson said he was “sorry that the words on that sign made some of our Patriot colleagues, teammates, friends and neighbors feel unwelcome and disrespected. This sign is not reflective of GHS’s sentiments toward EVHS or the EVHS community.”

Mr. Johnson continued, “We understand there is a larger history and I assure you that we will be more intentional and deliberate with the words we choose on these signs in the future.

“There is no hate, there are no hard feelings and there is no bad blood. We preached community and togetherness to our staff, to our parents and to our students via email and on the announcements.”

He recounted the instances in which staff and students of GHS and EVHS positively interact — recent athletic and fine arts events, as well as collaborations between the schools’ administrations. He said the banner doesn’t define the school. 

“I don’t want it to overshadow all the progress that we are making in creating a spirit of camaraderie and collaboration,” he said. 

Mr. Longoria’s letter concluded with EVHS affirmations that the school will “continue to claim our stake in our greater Georgetown community,” will support Patriots successes and “show that same love and support to our neighbors and colleagues in GISD,” will add to GISD’s diversity.

“We will be driven by Patriot pride and take joy in our uniqueness and who we are as East View Patriots,” the East View letter concludes. “We will vigorously pursue progress and continue to strive for excellence in all things, in spite of what adversity may come our way.”