An Ugly Reminder Of The Past

By Stephen C. Smith Sr.
Updated: January 17, 2006

WICHITA FALLS, Texas – It’s been said that history doesn’t repeat itself, yet human nature always does.

One year ago, almost to the day, the Hirschi High School girls basketball team walked back into the visitor’s locker room at Graham High School after warm-ups and were transported back in time.

The team, composed predominately of African-American players, found smashed bananas on the floor and a makeshift monkey someone had carefully fashioned out of clothing.

Determined to play through their shock and anger, Hirschi lost that night. And though no one has ever used the incident an as excuse for what happened on the court that night, it’s undeniable that it played a role.

“It’s left some emotional scars, and I don’t think the players will ever forget it,” Lady Huskies coach Leta Davis said. “Especially the fact that something like that can still happen in this day and age.”

An investigation into the incident found that two White students from Graham perpetrated the offense, which they described as a “prank.” Although Graham High School’s administration reacted swiftly and meted out the proper punishment, the “prank” had far-reaching effects.

The two students in question weren’t the sole target for anger and suspicion though, the whole community ended up bearing that burden for them.

In the past year, Hirschi’s boys basketball, track, baseball, volleyball, and football teams all played at Graham and did so without incident.

But time hasn’t healed all wounds just yet.

Two weeks ago, the two teams met on a neutral court – 46 miles from Wichita Falls and 44 miles from Graham – and played their first district game with the Lady Blues designated as the home team.

Graham has a new coach this year and revised rules for attending sporting events to prevent history from repeating itself.

However, human nature still needs to be addressed.