For decades now, the Eastside-Wade Hampton rivalry football game and the Spirit Week that precedes it has been a staple in Upstate high school sports. Spirit Week pits the two Taylors area high schools against each other not only on the football field, but in a competition to see which student body can raise the most money for the charities of their choice.
This year, the traditions - both the game and the week leading up to it - survived Wade Hampton's jump to 4A classification. But there seems to be some question as to whether or not the logistical obstacles may prove too difficult to ensure a guaranteed yearly renewal of the rivalry.
Wade Hampton Principal Lance Radford said he thought the rivalry week and game could be salvaged, but acknowledged that a game between the 3A Eagles and the Generals presented challenges. Radford, who has been the principal at Wade Hampton for eight years, is accustomed to the two schools to playing each other on the football field twice a year - once in a regular region game, and another in a "money," or option game. Most years, the game later in the year, usually October, is chosen to coincide with Spirit Week. This year, there is only one chance to play since Wade Hampton is now in a different classification.
Radford said he was hopeful the series wouldn't be interrupted.
"I sure hope not," Radford said. "I would think we'd always schedule them. We hope to play them forever, as far as I'm concerned."
But Eastside Principal Mike Thorne shared Radford's concern that the schools' ability to count on a guaranteed game between the two had been effected.
"There is concern, I think," Thorne said.
Thorne said he preferred a Spirit Week that didn't fall so closely to the very beginning of the school year, and confirmed that there are no guarantees at this point regarding the rivalry game and week. That doesn't mean the school's charity fundraising will stop.
"We'll always have Spirit Week," Thorne said. "But at this point, we're not sure (if the opponent will change). We're still in the planning stages of that decision."