Just when you thought our long national nightmare was over, Dwight Howard is back in the news. Well, not quite Dwight Howard. His alma mater.
The high school that is most famous for being host to Howard's teenage Thunderdome highlights has cancelled its entire football season less than a month before the year's first official kickoff. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Southwest Atlanta (Ga.) Christian Academy decided that it would not compete in football at all in 2013, making the official decision exactly 24 days before its first scheduled game.
"I'm hurt and saddened along with kind of confused," SACA football coach Adrian Chism told the Journal-Constitution. "I'm still waiting on the official letter to explain the reason why. I got a call this weekend stating that the board had voted to suspend the season."
That SACA would cancel the football season is surprising, but hardly a total shock. The school struggled to host enough players (13 in all) to field a team in 2012, and famously forfeited its first game because its football equipment hadn’t been returned in time. In another prior season the team did not have a practice field on which to train and was provided just one football to practice with by the school.
Yet despite an 0-10 record that was pockmarked with blowouts, the team emerged as an unlikely Georgia and American success story for its resilience to show up week after week in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Chism had planned to field a team that would have as many as 17 or 18 players in 2013, a rise from the meager numbers he could rely on in 2012.
Now, he has shifted his focus to keeping the program viable for another year so that SACA might re-focus and field a squad in 2014.
"We're suspended, but not terminated or banished from the school. I'm still the football coach. I've spoken with the [athletics director], and we're going to come up with some plans for where we’re headed."