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  • Ednold

Sheridan 11/8/19

Updated: Jan 19, 2020

With Mrs. Ednold finally back in her shotgun seat, we drove to Sheridan this week to watch the Spartans take on the Warrenton Warriors in the first round of the state 2A playoffs. In fairness to my father I have to say that I missed his navigating skills in that position. He’s like a living GPS, without the sexy voice directing you off a cliff. Mrs. Ednold might lead you off a cliff with a sexy voice, but navigation is only one responsibility of a good shotgun rider. As a DJ, Mrs. Ednold is definitely an upgrade. She knows her Isley Brothers from her Everly Brothers; her Van Morrison from her Van Halen; her Eddie Money from her Johnny Cash; her Prince from her Queen; her Def Leppard from her Leppard With Above-Average Hearing. Ok, I had to make that last one up, but you get the idea. And she’s good at feeding me french fries and opening drinks and unwrapping chewing gum and sticking it straight in my mouth so that I can keep my eyes on the less skilled drivers around me and my hands at 10 and 2, as always. Which on this night didn’t keep me from running over a cat just outside the Sheridan city limits. We both had just a second to see each other and swerve, and the cat and The Bucket swerved right to the same spot. I don’t consider myself a “cat person”, but I like cats and I felt at the time that it might be an ominous sign of what was to come.

Sheridan lies in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range on the South Yamhill River. The town was named for General Philip (Fightin’ Phil) Sheridan who, as a young lieutenant and captain, was Post Commander at Fort Yamhill. After the outbreak of the Civil War he was summoned east and ruined the Shenandoah Valley as a base for Confederate operations and was then instrumental in forcing General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. After the war he took a professional and personal interest in the preservation of the Yellowstone area and was a leader in procuring permanent protection for what became our first national park. Upon his death in 1888, in perhaps history’s greatest posthumous obscene gesture toward a former opponent, Sheridan was buried just outside the front door of Lee’s former home in Arlington, Virginia. (Coincidentally, both the first death of a passenger in an airplane accident and the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Ednold happened, though not simultaneously, mere steps from this same spot. Quite a historical trifecta for that small patch of ground overlooking the Potomac). So, Phil played a big part in winning a huge war, aided in starting the national park system, and helped make Arlington fashionable as the resting place for America’s heroes. I suppose he’s worthy of having a small town in Oregon named for him.

Sheridan High School graduated its first class in 1909 in a town that had long been all about agriculture and timber. But that changed somewhat in 1989 with the opening of a federal prison on the southeast side of town. The prison is now the town’s largest employer and has added significantly to the population, which now includes all of the inmates. Before the prison opened former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts graduated from Sheridan High School. High jumper Joni Huntley was a phenom at Sheridan, setting the national high school record prior to a stellar career at Oregon State and eventually earning bronze at the 1984 Olympics. And the football team has even produced an NFL player; running back Ray Hare. What I don’t know about Hare is how he ended up playing professional football from 1940-1946, when every other able-bodied young man was serving his country. I don’t mean to question Ray’s patriotism, but there is a story there that I would like to hear. Another good story would be an explanation for why the Sheridan Spartans’ mascot logo features a dyspeptic peasant girl with a faceless yellow penguin standing on her shoulders. Look for yourself if you don’t believe me. I didn’t even know they had yellow penguins in Greece. I didn’t know anyone had yellow penguins. I’m not sure how this is supposed to represent a group of fearsome Hellenic warriors, but there must be a connection that I’m unaware of. My suggestion is: Drop the girl completely, give the penguin a face and let him be the new representative of Spartan Nation. Just a thought.

The main (west) grandstand

The Charlie Brown visitors' section

Sheridan gives every impression of being a very pleasant little town, and we didn't encounter anything that would lead us to believe it's not. Someday when we have more time and it's a little warmer I wouldn't mind coming back and poking around a bit. Parking for Bill Chrisman Memorial Field, named for a Spartan standout of the mid-1960’s, is just off of South Bridge St., the main north-south road through downtown. The school is right in the middle of town so parking is also available on the surrounding streets. Since this was a playoff game OSAA was running the show and charged us $8 per adult to get in the gate at the east end of the parking lot. The main grandstands are just inside the gate. This is a big, blue, covered wooden stand with wooden bleachers. It could stand a new coat of paint but it’s comfortable. A tiny set of bleachers for the visiting fans sits across the field on the east side. I don’t believe those bleachers have a formal name but I hereby dub them the Charlie Brown bleachers. They are so sad. If they ever make a show called “ It’s Football Season, Charlie Brown”, those are the bleachers Chuck will choose to put in his stadium. In between Charlie Brown and the real grandstand is the natural grass field with a rubber asphalt track around it. For the first time this season there was a considerable visitors presence in the home grandstand due mainly, I’m guessing, to the limited seating on the opposite side. The small concession stand beneath the grandstand is small and busy, but the volunteers worked hard to keep the line moving and the food was no worse than average.

Unlike most other schools we’ve been to, Sheridan saw no reason to try to impress us with some outlandish halftime show, which was kind of nice for a change. The 7-member cheerleading unit was good enough for Mrs. Ednold to mention that I should mention them, and I honestly mean no disrespect when I say that the Sheridan band was the Oscar Madison to Century's Felix Unger. They were relaxed and casual. It was refreshing to hear everyone kind of picking up the tune whenever they felt like it and cracking jokes to each other in the middle of the songs. They had fun and provided a decent, if not spectacular, soundtrack of standard football music for us spectators. Outside of the band playing a few songs where they sat, there was absolutely no halftime entertainment whatsoever, with one exception. Mrs. Ednold and I each got our picture taken with someone. Want to know who? So do we! A man in Oakland Raiders gear was introduced over the PA system at least three times as a former Raider who had decided to come out to the game on a Friday night, but we could never make out his name through the loudspeakers. Finally, at halftime, we made our way down and asked to be photographed with him and his ginormous AFC Championship ring. So that’s me right there with someone whose name I thought was Glen Jackson. But my research tells me that no Glen Jackson has ever played for the Raiders. He was certainly big and that ring looked very real. He’s a very nice man, but I haven’t the slightest idea who he is.

These two teams also met in the first round of the playoffs last season, with Sheridan coming out on top before losing to eventual champions Kennedy the following week. The Spartans, placing second in 2A Special District 2 with a 6-2 overall record, came into this game riding a four-game winning streak during which they had outscored their opponents 104-32. The Warriors, second place finishers in 2A Special District 1, also with a 6-2 record, came in having also won their last four, by a combined 198-25 score. Something, as they say, would have to give, and early on that something was the Spartan defense. They went down 14-0 after just a few minutes. But they battled back, found their passing game in the second half, and had pulled within one after three quarters, 20-21. They ran out of gas after that and it was all Warrenton in the fourth quarter as the Spartans ended up losing 20-35. While the Warriors move on to the quarter-finals next week, another season of Sheridan football has come to an end. And I can’t help feeling that if I could somehow have just avoided that cat things would have turned out way different.

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So glad Mrs Ednold could make this one..........I hope it wasn't a black cat. You always manage to give us a history lesson along with the game narrative. I for one did not know that Phil Sheridan was buried at Arlington near where we viewed your wedding . That was interesting. Isn't it amazing that famous people can grow up in small towns too. I myself had two famous people grow up in my small towns. One in Oakridge and one in Springfield.

Unfortunately, it wasn't me. You did it again Marc. I'll be sorry to see the play-offs and the

season to be over. You give us something to look forward to each week.



With kind thoughts for the unfortunate cat I am guessing you had another successful CPHC outing. I will admit to being a bit baffled by your 'penquin' references. When I first noted the stoic Sheridan logo I was puzzled by the oversized slice of cantaloupe on the fellow's head, but I never considered it might be penquin.

Anyway, I thought you painted a handsome word-picture of small-town Sheridan. Seemed like everything fit together......except for the bit about Phil Sheridan being at your wedding. I'd never heard that before. As for Glen Jackson......if I had the Raiders in my past I would change me name too.

Good job.

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