Opening Night Magic

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Payson Longhorn football players tackled an unguarded Chine Valley Cougar

The August breeze, full of portent, wafted across the Longhorns’ football field Friday night during the first game of the season.

The night was full of hope and bruises, gossip and love, sweat and laughter.

The Longhorns triumphed — thank goodness — romping to a victory against Chino Valley. But then, that’s not really the point.

How to capture it?

The crowd mingled, exchanged news, sized one another up. The new superintendent showed up in Longhorn purple, school board members chatted and cheered, the high school principal circulated, abashed editors recounted their humblments — and all the while the kids ran and leaped and cheered and played.

It was mostly about those kids down there on the field — the band and the cheerleaders and the players. They gave themselves entirely to the game, to the music, to the cheers — the result of long practice and discipline and conquered fears. It lifts the heart up without fail to see young people so full of hope and energy and a fierce will to make their mark. You cannot sit on those aluminum bleachers, watch those kids march and fumble and break tackles without coming away heartened and restored.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s why the evening passed so slowly, so quickly, so perfectly.

Or maybe the night bespoke the charms of a small town — when you can’t get to the drink stand and back without stopping three times to chat. Now, granted — sometimes that means mumbles and explanations and sidewise glances. But mostly, you feel like there’s a place for you here.

Or perhaps it was merely the August breeze, damp with monsoon storms, promising another season under the lights — a long, season of pain and possibility.

Go Longhorns! Bring us along for another season. Give us a story to tell — and an excuse to get together.

Up to the voters now

We hate to nag ... but if you haven’t voted — and are registered — you might want to take the time to cast a ballot.

Never mind all the mounting presidential foolishness, this election will pattern the politics of Rim Country for years to come.

Some of the critical races will be decided in the primary — others will go to a second round in the general election.

Come the general election, we’ll have a high stakes race for the state legislative districts, the school board, the Northern Gila County Sanitary District board, the county board of supervisors and a host of other key races.

The bulk of primary voters have already voted by mail.

But if you somehow never got around to dropping the ballot in the mail, you can fill it out and take it to a polling place.

You can also just dig out our election tab, scan the profiles of the candidates, and shuffle on down to the polls to exercise the rights won at so dear a price in the course of so many generations.

Certainly, we understand that sometimes voters don’t have time to deeply inform themselves. Further, voters too often must choose between two unpalatable options.

Still, life’s full of such choices. Someone will win — and make the decisions with which the voters must live.

Unfortunately, the recently mailed voter cards in many cases had the wrong number field in the box to indicate a voter’s precinct. In today’s paper, you’ll find a list of polling places. So just head to the polling place closest to your house and if that’s the wrong one, they’ll let you know.

So please, hold your nose if you must — but vote if you can. Polls stay open until 7 p.m. for the procrastinators.

Oh, yeah, and while we’re nagging. You really should eat more vegetables — and get a little exercise.

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