It is normally very troublesome to get somebody from Blue Ridge Excessive Faculty to acknowledge the block “G” of somebody from Greer Excessive Faculty.
The 2 colleges in the identical city have a fierce rivalry in athletics, however for Blue Ridge baseball head coach and assistant soccer coach Travis Henson the choice to alter his Twitter profile image to the Greer “G” was a straightforward one.
In help of Greer athletic director and assistant soccer coach Travis Perry, who’s presently below the supervision of hospice care on account of bile duct most cancers, many groups, coaches and gamers have modified their Twitter profile image to the Greer brand.
Henson is a graduate of Blue Ridge and has been part of the rivalry his total life. His father, Jerry Henson, was a coach and instructor for the Combating Tigers for 38 seasons.
It was the way in which Perry handled his father when he was preventing his personal most cancers battle in 2013 that taught Travis Henson about what type man Perry was.
The 2 soccer groups normally play the final regular-season recreation of the yr, and in 2013 Blue Ridge was eyeing a area title with a 9-Zero document. Perry was targeted on ensuring Jerry Henson, who had been recognized with colon most cancers and was weak, had a technique to watch the sport at Dooley Area.
Travis Henson stated Perry requested what he may do to ensure his father had a seat within the press field and a handicapped parking spot so he might be snug whereas watching the rivalry recreation.
“There’s so some ways our paths have crossed,” he stated. “You received’t discover a better rivalry than Blue Ridge and Greer, however he has at all times had the foresight to see past the aggressive traces and see the wants of different folks.”
Jerry Henson’s most cancers was cured and he has been cancer-free since, however in 2016 Travis Henson needed to struggle his personal battle with most cancers.
He had a cancerous tumor in his kidney and needed to have the kidney eliminated consequently. Perry was there to be somebody to lean on, even from the rival faculty.
“Travis’s battle may be very private to my dad and myself. He’s been on our hearts and minds for the final a number of weeks,” he stated. “There’s most likely a whole bunch or folks that have the identical story. Travis is a person of religion. He has by no means flinched. It’s the identical factor he did along with his groups. His religion has by no means wavered. He’s by no means backed down from any problem, together with this one.”
‘Rivalries take a again seat’
The primary Twitter account to alter its profile image to the Greer “G” was one other workforce with a “G” as its brand, Gaffney.
Alex Visitor runs the fan Twitter account, The Gaffney Soccer Historical past Web page. He does not have a place within the athletic division however is understood all through the group as an enormous fan of the Indians.
“When you ask anybody who is aware of me, they know that I’m very obsessed with Gaffney athletics and Gaffney soccer specifically,” he stated.
He began the web page in 2012 and it has 4,674 followers. He tweeted Wednesday that the web page could be altering its profile image to point out help for Perry in his struggle.
Visitor stated he has spoken to Perry solely as soon as, however when a college is going through a difficult time he stated it is vital to point out help.
“Rivalries take a again seat to somebody making an attempt to struggle most cancers, or the surprising dying of a scholar in a automotive accident or one thing like that,” he stated. “Anytime I’ve heard of one thing like that, I attempt to put up a tweet on the market saying, ‘You are in our ideas and prayers proper now.’ “
After Visitor despatched his tweet, extra Twitter profiles adopted. Chapman and Westside have modified profile photos. So has Greenville Excessive soccer coach Greg Porter and quite a few different coaches and athletes.
“It 100 % was not my intent (for it to unfold), however on the similar time it’s cool to scroll by social media and see all people displaying help,” Visitor stated. “We have seen a few of our assistant coaches at Gaffney change their photos as properly, it has been cool.”
Visitor sees a number of the ugly facet of social media each Friday evening within the fall. He gives updates to video games on his web page, and is not shy about being a Gaffney fan.
That’s what has made this expertise even higher for him: In a typically poisonous social media world Twitter has been used to unfold consciousness and help for Perry.
“I attempt to emulate how I’d need others to really feel if the identical factor was occurring in Gaffney,” he stated. “It’s actually cool to see social media, with how nasty and merciless it may be, it’s cool to see everybody come collectively and put rivalries on the again burner. We’ll struggle it out on the sphere within the fall, however for now it’s good to place it on the again burner.”
One of many gamers to alter his profile image to honor Perry is Eastside Excessive quarterback Marshall Skoloff. His Eagles have had exhausting fights with Greer, however he thought honoring Perry went past a rivalry.
“Soccer is larger than only a sport,” he stated. “Though they’re our rivals and on the sphere we don’t actually like one another, that doesn’t imply that we now have to not like one another off the sphere. That is method greater than soccer. It’s far more vital than soccer.”
Following Eastside’s 35-28 win over the Yellow Jackets final season, Skoloff and Perry spoke briefly, however he does not know him properly.
He sees soccer as a household sport, and when one member of the household is in hassle it is vital to point out help.
“All of the soccer groups wish to have a household tradition, and I don’t suppose it needs to be solely your workforce,” he stated. “It needs to be your complete area, your complete space as a result of all people issues, each life issues. Particularly when it’s somebody who’s a very huge deal like coach Perry.”
Skoloff works out within the offseason with Greer extensive receivers Miller Dearmond and Jaleel Skinner, in addition to former Greer and now Spartanburg quarterback Raheim Jeter. All three thanked him for the gesture.
The truth that Skoloff does not know Perry very properly however nonetheless has taken the time to make the gesture of help for a rival coach speaks to what Perry has meant to the group, based on Travis Henson.
“I do know he has large respect on this group and all through the Upstate, due to the person that he’s and the way in which he’s impressed so many individuals,” he stated. “That goes past the partitions of Greer Excessive Faculty, and that’s what’s so phenomenal about it.”
The rivalry between Blue Ridge and Greer is not going to go away anytime quickly, and Henson stated on the sphere it’s as intense as any within the state.
Now, with sports activities on maintain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he stated that very same depth is being put into displaying help for Perry.
After years of service to the group, he stated Perry and his household deserve it.
“No matter what uniform we’re sporting, or what faculty we’re serving in, it’s about folks,” he stated. “For Travis Perry, it’s at all times been about folks, irrespective of who you’re or the place you’re from.”