We could learn from the 1970 Valley Rams

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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Anyone who played sports has fond memories when looking back.

Athletics has a way of bringing people together from different backgrounds as they work together toward a common goal. If you look at the roster of a sports team at any level, you typically find a diverse group of people. The same goes for fans.

Some of us are Republican, some are Democrat or independent, but on Saturdays, if we cheer for the Tide or the Tigers, we’re really yelling together in unison. People who likely would’ve never known one another become friends and teammates through sports.

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The 1970 Valley High School football team is proof of that.

That team won the state championship 50 years ago and was celebrated on Friday night at Ram Stadium. About a dozen members of the team walked out to midfield and received a champion’s welcome from the Valley home crowd.

The 1970s were a unique time in our nation’s history, and when Rehobeth High School and Valley High School integrated before the school year, we’re sure there were many questions and uncertainties.

“I told all the athletes that we were going into a different situation, but we have to play together, regardless that one is white, that doesn’t make a difference,” said Arthur Dunn, who was an assistant coach on the Rams 1970 coaching staff. “All we do is be athletes, and we just play and come together. It worked.”

We want to say congratulations to the team. The standard they accomplished 50 years ago is one the current Valley High School team can look toward as they set goals for their own season and life.

But we also want to use the 1970 team as an example beyond sports.

Nationally, there’s a lot of talk about racial injustice and the protests that have erupted around our country this year.

As a nation, we’re having much needed conversations about equality as we all work together to make this a better world for all.

The 1970 team was a mixture of both white and black players — some who had never met before. However, they overcame any differences they had, worked together and accomplished a goal that we’re guessing few thought was possible at the time.

Some of the players compared that season to the movie “Remember the Titans,” though they say there was much less Hollywood-type tension.

“We didn’t have a lot of that racial unrest that you saw in the movie. We got along great. I mean, at least I thought we did,” said Robert Maddox, who played receiver on the team. “We had a really good team that year. Certainly, there’s no way we’re even close without those guys from Rehobeth. Some of those guys were outstanding.”

We’re glad Valley High School took the time to honor this championship team, and we thank the players who talked to us for our story.

It’s been 50 years, but there’s a lot we can still learn from reading the story of those Valley Rams.