One football game stood out from all the rest this season and not because of the score. Our community, students, and members of the band cheered for the opposing team. Ridgeview Academy was the reason.
Football coach Kip Hafey was inspired to follow in the footsteps of a Christian church in Texas and invite Ridgeview Academy to play the Bulldogs after learning about the One Heart Project. Hafey saw it as a perfect opportunity for MCHS.
The One Heart Project started in Grapevine, TX in 2008 when the Gainesville Tornadoes, a detention school, organized a football game against Faith Christian High School. Faith Christian made a spirit line for the Tornadoes and cheered for them during the game. Faith Christian wanted to let the Tornadoes know they had support as well.
Hafey wanted to get the MCHS community and the band involved. Half of the school band and crowd sat on Ridgeview side of the field to cheer for them instead of for MCHS.
“It was so great to see our school [and] community, from the kids on the football team, to the members of the band, to the cheerleaders, to the parents. I mean everybody. It was great because everybody had a part in making that a success,” Hafey said.
A movie is being produced about the story and what the One Heart Project is doing now. Producers were inspired by the real-life story. The release date of the movie is not yet set.
Hafey said the outcome of this event was phenomenal. He defined it as an entire school and community effort to show the Ridgeview kids that they are valuable. Senior Bretta Buchanan said it was a challenge because they weren’t rooting for their home team. She played trumpet for Ridgeview. She had to make sure she didn’t cheer for the Bulldogs when they got a score and that was difficult.
Ridgeview’s football coach, Jason Lane was unavailable for comment. According to Hafey though, the outcome was more than the community expected. ”As good as it was for those kids, it was great for our kids to lend out that helping and understand why and what athletics teach us. It’s not just about winning. There’s so much more and the kids really responded to that. It was great.”