In what may be one of the most unique accomplishments of all time, a North Carolina man completed a 33-year quest to see a game involving every single sanctioned high school football team in the state.
As reported by RivalsHigh affiliate NCPreps.com, Thomasville, N.C.-area resident Joe Myers wrapped up a 372-team adventure by taking in the North Carolina Class 4AA first-round playoff game between Millbrook (N.C.) High and Wake Forest-Rolesville (N.C.) High. Millbrook was the last outstanding school on his lifelong prep football bucket list, letting him finally put down his constant quest to take in as many football games as humanly possible.
Across the years, Myers gradually built up his collection of teams slowly and unintentionally, watching prep football whenever he could and taking in all of the state title games at the end of the season. Then, in 2003, Myers sat down and listed each team he had seen. He was shocked to learn he had somehow caught 102 teams in action.
With such an enormous number of teams already on his personal list, Myers sat down and charted out how he could approach seeing every team in the state, regardless of how much time and travel the pursuit would take. He targeted games where he had not seen either team, and tried to focus on games with predicted narrow margins of victory, then tagged on any rainouts that would allow him to see a game on a non-traditional football night like a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Along the way, "Eagle Joe" continued to thank his wife, who somehow found the patience to indulge in what he admits is a "unique hobby." Perhaps unsurprisingly, she has another term for it.
"I really did not intend on seeing all the teams play until after 2003. At that time, I had seen 102 teams play," Myers told NCPreps.com. "By then I had found a woman that would tolerate my 'obsessive' as she would say, but I say 'unique' hobby. In the years 2003-2011, I was able to see 267 teams play."
Now that the pursuit is over, Myers isn't sure what he'll focus on next. The man who has watched the likes of T.A. McLendon, Monterio Hardisty, Willie Parker, Hakeem Nicks and Madison Hedgecock, to name but a few, will certainly continue to travel for plenty of high school football in North Carolina, though now his travel schedule might be a bit more forgiving, to the relief of his wife.
And, no matter what happens, the odds are good that Myers will find his way back to Thomasville (N.C.) High's stadium at some point in the future. Given his passion, he'll probably go more than once.
"I've been to 207 different high school football stadiums. It's hard to just name one. For me it is a combination of looks, atmosphere, fan support, and food. Thomasville has a retro look, fan support, atmosphere, and a very good hot dog. Being a county whipping boy makes it difficult for me to go there often, but their tradition and program is undeniable."