Competition is still the currency of success

by David Morgan, Lawrence County Executive


Nothing beats the excitement of Friday night football, especially when inter-county rivals take the field.

The Summertown Eagles faced Lawrence County High’s Wildcats in the first week of football season, August 19. I was on the sidelines and watched the Eagles maintain a tighter margin than predicted, losing by just one touchdown.

This past Friday saw the Wildcats take on the Loretto Mustangs, and lose 20-24. It was the first win against LCHS for the Mustangs in 21 years, their first time to claim the Van Johnson Cup. The trophy was created for the matchup in the 2010s, named for a Loretto player who suffered an injury during an LHS-LCHS scrimmage game in 1970 that left him a quadriplegic. I wish Van was still with us and could have seen Friday’s game.

Last year I was on the Loretto sideline running the chains when LCHS narrowly won at home. As the game ended, I could sense a new fire in the Mustangs’ bellies, from the coaches to the players. I think that loss took the competition up a notch for Loretto, and proves why these inter-county rivalries are good for us all, even though their Friday night win hurt this Wildcat’s heart.

I know all about competition because I grew up with four older brothers. I had to compete every day, and it developed determination, work ethic, and tenacity. Good, healthy competition demands constant improvement and keeps us on our toes. The adage “a rising tide lifts all boats” can also apply to the effect good competition has on everyone’s level of performance.

Of course, the football field isn’t the only place our three high schools compete. We also have baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, golf, and soccer. With the expansion of CTE (Career Technical Education) programs county-wide, we can also add competitions like welding, robotics, and medical math to the list.

Lawrence County has been blessed with two job announcements in recent weeks. Magna, a supplier for the new Ford Blue Oval City in West Tennessee, will provide some of the best-paying industrial jobs Lawrence County has seen and raise the quality-of-life tide for us all. I am glad our students are honing their skills against one another, preparing to excel in these good jobs and others.

In much a larger sense, competition forms the heart of America’s economic system. Businesses must continually improve to stay ahead, which leads to higher-quality goods and services, lower prices, and greater variety for us.  

The greatest thing about inter-county competition? We know where it belongs, where “my team” becomes “our team” after the game and we can work together on projects that benefit us all.

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