Thomasville, like the rest of Georgia, is working to stay connected after the closure of the school for the rest of the academic year. The football team is hoping to hit the ground running in the fall, but are finding different ways to bond as a team while helping the community.
Throughout a time of uncertainty, the Thomasville Bulldogs continue to stand for their community.
Shortly before the shelter in place order from the Governor of Georgia and the cancellation of schools for the semester, the Bulldogs football team and athletic staff have managed to reach out to the community and help everyone they can.
Thomasville football coach Zach Grage said they’ve always worked to give back however they can.
“We normally have spring service projects where we do something every other Saturday,” Grage said. “Our last was at the Hearts and Hands for Horses and also for the Food Bank, just seeing us throughout the community, and everybody has been able to try and chip in and help the community and help these kids out.”
Since the closure of the school, many of the athletic staff and nutrition team has stepped up to ensure the students are being fed each day. The school’s gym has become a location to hand out school lunches to the students, and many of the coaches and training staff have stepped up to help out.
Sports has a funny way of bonding a community. Some may argue that it’s just a game, but the work put in by coaches and team staff continues to be the bond that holds everyone together. Thomasville has seen some adversity over the years, but when a team can hold the town together, it creates a path of salvation for many.
“Many of our coaches and even through our middle school staff who are no longer on contract are coming in to put their time in and help out,” Grage said. “There was a shooting in our town just before the Cairo game; and people may disagree, but when it comes to Friday nights at 7, everyone comes together, and it’s always a beautiful thing.
Thomasville’s staff continues to check in on kids throughout the closure and works to ensure every kid is safe, happy, and healthy. Grage credited the leadership of his football team, a young team that has really matured over the past year on their way to the state semifinals. They have been an instrumental part of keeping the team together.
“It’s been an adjustment, but we’re working hard to check on every kid,” Grage said. “We had our first coaches meeting, and I had to be taught how to use Zoom, so that was fun. Now we’re using it to check on the kids and have some meetings with them to see how they’re doing. If someone isn’t there, we reach out to our leaders, and they do a good job of tracking kids down and helping out.”
Thomasville hopes to continue its season in the fall.
“We’re just trying to stay in touch with them as much as we can,” Grage said. “The benefit of the technological age is being able to stay home and be safe while still talking to our players. Hopefully, we can get past this and return to some sense of normalcy.”
Written by: Kyle Grondin
Header Photography by: Eric Vinson
Gallery Photography by: Ben Peirce