Sports column: It was a week filled with special moments

Published 4:00 am Sunday, May 26, 2024

Part of the magic of sports is how it can bring cities and communities together. When a local team is doing well, everyone is suddenly jumping on the bandwagon and pulling for them even if they’ve never watched a game in their lives.

Big games become social events and cultural touchstones. A couple of events this week in and around Vicksburg were pleasant reminders of this.

On Tuesday night, nearly 400 people came to Warren Central’s Viking Stadium for the premiere of “11 Brothers: The Movie.” The 96-minute documentary was shot, edited and produced by Warren Central student Evan Farrell as a school project, and it follows the school’s football team throughout its 2023 season.

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Farrell spent most of the past year working on the movie, leading up to a Red Carpet (City) premiere.

People set out blankets on the field, or watched from the stands as the movie played on the jumbotron. Kids played touch football games before the showing — and during, in near-total darkness — while classmates, teammates, friends and families shared memories and made new ones.

If you missed the premiere, you can still watch the movie on YouTube but you definitely missed out on a unique experience.

Then, on Wednesday, Warren Central’s baseball team headed to Trustmark Park in Pearl to play in the MHSAA Class 6A championship series. Like on Tuesday night, it was as much a community event as a sporting event.

No official attendance estimates were provided by the MHSAA, but it appeared that between 1,500 and 2,000 people came from all across the state to watch the Vikings play George County for both games of the series. The latter brought a large crowd from the Coast as well.

It was hard to take more than a few steps through the concourse without seeing a familiar face and saying hello. Most of those encounters turned into minutes-long catch-up sessions filled with warm smiles and laughs, and the entire day turned into a class — or even family — reunion.

Other encounters were just plain wholesome and heartwarming.

Before the game, members of the Vicksburg Dodgers 12U tournament team, wearing their jerseys, hung out on a rail in the outfield stands watching Warren Central’s players warm up. Near the end of the session, one of the WC players tossed a ball back and forth with them.

It was a little moment that will undoubtedly stick with young players. Who knows? Maybe in a few years it’ll be something they remember while sitting in the dugout before playing in their own state championship series, or down the road when they’re watching their kids do the same thing they did.

On the field, Warren Central and George County battled to bring a state championship trophy back to their respective towns. Off it, however, they’ve already won something by giving us all some wonderful and rare moments in time that are hard to come by.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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