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Troy vs. Enterprise: Familiar foes

Published 8:56am Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Battle for Tobacco Road, Palmer vs. Nicklaus, the Iron Bowl … Troy vs. Enterprise?

On a national scale it probably doesn’t fit. Locally, however, it’s growing to be the biggest match-up of them all.

This summer alone, the two recreation programs have met 23 times in tournament play with Enterprise holding a 14-9 advantage. But this Saturday in Enterprise, the rivalry will be renewed twice as the Junior Dixie Boys and Dixie Boys teams square off in their respective state tournaments.

“I think it’s a healthy rivalry,” Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith said. “As long as it’s kept in perspective, it can be a good thing.”

Rivalries are a part of what make sports so intriguing. It’s always more enjoyable to have an interest in the opposing team. If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan, you’ve watched the New York Yankees in the standings. If you’re rooting for Phil Mickelson, you care what Tiger Woods just made on No. 17. And if you bleed Crimson and White, well, you know everything about the Orange and Blue.

Maybe Troy and Enterprise aren’t on the level of the Yankees and Red Sox but it is sure nice to have two small town programs that can compete with each other. After all, competition breeds improvement.

“They like to beat us and we like to beat them,” Smith said. “I have seen some fierce competitiveness and some of the best sportsmanship.”

How many times have you seen a team coast through a regular season or first round of playoffs then be ousted almost immediately by a quality opponent? Take the 2001 Seattle Mariners. They finished 116-46 in the regular season setting an American League single-season record for wins before being slammed by the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Or more recently, the Hawaii football team. The Warriors have compiled a 29-11 record during the regular season but have been out-scored 152-66 in three bowl appearances.

Not that Troy or Enterprise are the Mariners or Hawaii but the ability to push each other makes them both better.

So, where did this all start? While there is not a true date to pinpoint (Troy and Enterprise have, obviously, played each other for years in some capacity), regular meetings between the recreation teams began to pick up when the Dixie organization re-aligned Alabama’s districts.

“Around 2007, we moved from being in a district with Dothan to one with Enterprise; obviously, we began to play them more often,” said Smith.

The familiarity with one another will grow even more this weekend. Both Gary Fox’s Dixie Boys and Sam Kitchens’ Junior Dixie Boys kick off their 2011 state tournaments against Enterprise.

“It’s always good to play Enterprise,” Kitchens said. “They always have good teams and you know where you stand after you play them.”

Because the cities are located 35 miles apart, fans have an easier time hitting the road to root for their team. Kitchens feels that both teams benefit from that.

“Both have great fans and they both travel well; any time you have to travel to play it’s good to see your fans come with you.”

Fox sees the rivalry as a chance for both teams to improve.

“When you play Enterprise you know you’re playing a quality team; you’ve got to play well to beat them,” he says.

Both Troy teams playing in Enterprise this weekend will have a tough road to a state title with the quality of competition they will be playing, but memories are made in moments like those sure to come this weekend. These match-ups make the game more enjoyable and more memorable.

When I was in these kids’ shoes our rival was Dothan. They had good hitters from top to bottom with the likes of Clint Robinson (Troy and Kansas City Royals), Ben and Dan Tankersley (Central Alabama CC) among others. We weren’t that shabby either countering with names like Clint Pugh (Troy) and Wesley Wright (Houston Astros).

Steering off memory lane, the point is that this is for the kids. They’ll remember things like this forever whether they play another game of baseball again or not. Let’s let them and help them enjoy it. Win or lose there are sure to be some great and indelible games but like Dan Smith said, “As long as it’s kept in perspective.”

Wes Johnson covers sports for The Messenger. Contact him at wes.johnson@troymessenger.com.

  • StevenTyler

    A healthy rivalry? What a joke!! The Enterprise fans are the WORST in the State of Alabama!! When you have a father of a player HURDLE the fence at Hogan’s Hole to get to the umpire after he ejects the son for pegging the batter in the head on a throw down to 3rd you CLEARLY DO NOT HAVE A HEALTHY RIVALRY!! When that same father tells the Asst. Superintendent of the TCS to “go on back up there to your little perch and stay there” when he warns him he is about to be removed from the park, you DO NOT have a healthy rivalry. When another father from this same group of men has to have a police escort in and out of the park because he says he is going to get a gun, you DO NOT HAVE a healthy rivalry!! When you have parents who call Troy players “fat”, tell them “they suck” and otherwise heckle them from the stands you do NOT have a healthy rivalry. When you have an Enterprise mother who asks a Troy dad, “you wanna piece of me” after her son gets ejected for bad sportsmanship and continuing bad behavior after being warned you DO NOT have a healthy rivalry. When you have enterprise kids and parents say at District, “Oh look mom, we have the umpire we like calling our game,” and nobody from the Rec Dept up to the District Chairperson does NOTHING to get fair and unbiased umpires to call the championship game, you DO NOT HAVE A HEALTHY RIVALRY!! When the same group of umpires eject coaches for little to NO reason from TWO different Troy teams in two different cities on the same night in Championship games and one team is PLAYING ENTERPRISE and the other is playing IN ENTERPRISE, you DO NOT HAVE A HEALTHY RIVALRY!!!! When you have an Enterprise County Commissioner wishing the bus carrying Troy kids home from Enterprise after a State Championship game CRASHES AND KILLS THE KIDS you DO NOT HAVE A HEALTHY RIVALRY!! When the Enterprise players, fans and parents support LOUISIANA by wearing Mardi Gras beads and Lousiana shirts after we put them (Enterprise) out in the world series you DO NOT HAVE A HEALTHY RIVALRY!! When Enterprise can CHANGE THE DATES OF THE DISTRICT TOURNAMENT because their pitching rotation (not because of vacations, puleeze) is messed up without input from the other coaches, you DO NOT have a healthy rivalry. I could go on and on, but I think I have made my point!!

    When is this City and Rec Dept going to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE? Enterprise fans and especially parents are VAPID!! They behave like animals and there are never any consequences!! We need to cease all sports activities with that town before someone gets physically injured. They wish it on us everytime we play! It isn’t even FUN to play the game of baseball when you have to deal with such bitter, jealous and despicable fans!!

    Here is to hoping that both the 13 and 14 year old’s TAKE STATE and AGAIN put Enterprise in their place. I have NO doubt that this can happen and both Troy teams will be playing in South Carolina come the end of July!!

    GO TROY!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Bill_OReally

      Take a deep breath. Back away from the computer. Put things into perspective. Now…get…a…LIFE! It’s little league baseball!!

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  • sackofsuds

    Enterprise is bad sports at everything. Needs to be changed from city of progress to city of chumps!

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  • Fred the Dorf-Dorfman

    If you want to see a good and brutal rivalry go see Smiths Station and Hurtsboro. Wild and crazy!

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