Tuesday, September 22, 2009

West Texas town thrives, along with its football team

I almost didn't read this piece in the New York Times because it appeared in the sports section. But Jere Longman's report from Canadian, Texas, population 2,233, is about far more than high school football, significant as the sport is in the Texas panhandle. Longman's feature story is about a flourishing Texas town that wasn't always so. It hit its nadir perhaps a quarter century ago, as oil and gas prices dropped, but it didn't give up. Here an excerpt that partly explains how and why Canadian is different to other dusty Panhandle towns:
But the town grew more savvy about the boom-and-bust cycle of oil and gas, remaking itself in the late 1990s as a regional center for ecotourism and refurbishing its downtown with restored brick storefronts, a popular steakhouse and a state-of-the-art movie theater.

Canadian has a blue-jean casualness and a Mayberry hospitality, but its small-town warmth is buttressed by big-city business acumen. It is an unlikely commodities trading center, a cowboy-booted alternative to the tassel-loafered trading floors of New York City.
After the last post in which underwear looms large, I can't resist adding this quote from a resident, “We’re 100 miles from any place you can buy underwear.” Presumably underwear is had in Amarillo, which is about that distance from Canadian and no doubt home to a Wal-Mart and other underwear vendors.

But another quote from bakery owner Teresa Rankin, who supplies seven Panhandle restaurants with her sourdough bread, is even richer: “You make a choice. You can be of the world or have your own. We choose to have our own.”

Oh, and then there's the football part of the story. While about 125 Texas towns now field only a six-person team, Canadian High's state champion Wildcats include about 100 young men in grades 9-12 "most of them working-class," Longman reports.

Longman's story includes a great deal more detail about the Wildcats--and about Canadian's "fortunes," material and otherwise. Read it all here.

1 comment:

Julie Ardery said...

Thanks for spotting this!

Canadian also has a proud local newspapering tradition, thanks to the Ezzell family.