Tonawanda News — As I walked around the New Clinton H. Small Stadium those first two days and spoke with people I saw the smiles and the looks of pride on their faces. Current students couldn’t wait to go on the field. Former students had the same reaction: “Wow, wish they had this when I went here.”
Parents and administrators beamed with pride. Visiting players and coaches raved about how beautiful the field, scoreboard and bleachers were. Everything was top notch and every Warrior was a little prouder because they knew that now they had the jewel of scholastic fields.
And this field would make the rest of Western New York take them a little more seriously.
A couple of years ago I wrote that moving forward with a new venue would be the best move. That Clinton Small himself would be leading the charge to give the athletes of Tonawanda the best possible facilities to pursue their athletic dreams.
And that’s what they have.
We are truly in a golden age of Tonawanda High School athletics. Every sport is on the rise in one way or another. Most teams are winning titles on a consistent basis. Even the handful of teams that haven’t won a title are experiencing growth in interest and are pointed in the right direction.
Better facilities will promote greater overall pride in all THS students as they strive for success in academics, athletics and the arts.
The football shaped memorial stone honoring Clint Small and the ticket booth are both being moved to the new stadium so that the past can have its place, as the Warriors proudly march into the future.
On Sept.13, prior to the varsity football team’s home opener, Warriors of all generations will gather for the official ribbon cutting ceremony. Warriors who are no longer with us — everyone from Clinton Small to Chris “Mr. Tonawanda” Slauson — will be looking on with pride.
As Warriors walk through those gates they won’t just be heading to a new field. They will be walking towards a brighter future.
You always hear the expression kids come first. In this case the kids of Tonawanda were indeed put first.
Well done, Tonawanda. Well done.
Find reporter Dave Ricci on Twitter @davearicci.Find reporter Dave Ricci on Twitter @davearicci.