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Introducing Tiger Nation

By Michael Butler

There is a sense of pride in being connected with your school. It's not just donning the old letterman's jacket, it's giving back and showing support for your hometown team.

Tallassee High School alumnus Courtney Thornton is ready to ratchet up that display of backing for the purple and gold with "Tiger Nation."

In an open letter to the THS fan base titled, "The Birth of Tiger Nation," Thornton explained.

"Week in and week out (myself included), we continuously support our favorite teams, whether it be professional, collegiate, football, basketball, softball or baseball. We support them by tuning in to the television, listening on the radio or even in some cases attending the event. It is now time that we show that same support for our high school athletic programs.

"Our city has produced some of the most talented athletes I have ever seen. Some I grew up watching compete. Others I have had the pleasure of taking the battlefield with. While interacting with this city on a day to day basis, especially on gamedays it is my vision to go out and see this city covered in purple and gold to show support to our young athletes as they attempt to represent this city to the best of their ability."

Thornton, who now serves as the programs coordinator with the Tallassee Recreation Department, is officially launching Tiger Nation at the Tallassee vs. Valley basketball games on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Stumberg Gynasium.

"When I was growing up there was a generation of men and women who followed us, regardless of the location to continuously show support. From the perspective of a former athlete for this city, the feeling you get when you come out of the locker room or dugout and see how much support you have, it is an incentive to give not 100% but 150%."

Thornton played on the 1995 state championship baseball team at Tallassee.

"We were on a tear destroying all baseball teams in our path. On the bus ride to Jacksonville to face the Eagles for the state title, one of the most exciting topics discussed on the bus was the fact that the school took busloads of students and parents to the game, all that wanted to attend. We packed out the park. We had just as many fans if not more than the home team."

"This is where former athletes come in to play. Once a Tiger always a Tiger."

Thornton called Tiger Nation a "movement" and encouraged all interested to join in.

"I welcome all ideas and I really think this will be good for the students to see all the former athletes showing up at the events to show support for whatever they are participating in. Let’s get focused and give these athletes the support they deserve!"

For more information or to share ideas, contact Thornton at 334-415-0697.

Photo by Kyle Thornton