MOORE — Sports media types are supposed to stay neutral. No cheering for a team. No pulling for a victory.
Thing is, I can't help myself.
I'm cheering for the football team at Moore High School. I'm pulling for Scott Myers and his guys. And I'm not apologizing for it.
That became obvious last Friday night. When I heard the score of Moore's game against Choctaw, I let out a whoop and I didn't feel the least bit guilty about it. Nothing against the fine folks from Choctaw, but Moore's 27-9 victory is the ultimate feel-good story.
Over is Moore's 24-game losing streak, and no one deserved to have such drudgery come to an end more than Myers.
He has been battling cancer for almost two years.
When I went to Moore earlier this week to talk to Myers about the big win, he turned everything toward the players. How they hung in there even when things didn't go well early. How they refused to allow any doubts to creep into their minds. How they came up with turnovers and took advantage of them.
“They're excited,” Myers said. “A little more bounce.”
The coach has a bit more pep in his step these days, too, and it's not just because of the victory.
Diagnosed with renal kidney cancer in Jan. 2010, Myers was only a few months removed from high-dose radiation treatments last season. He endured the aggressive blasts because the cancer had metastasized and spread all over his body. His hip. His shoulder. His spine.
Then came chemotherapy. The drug zapped the pigment right out of his hair. His eyes were sunken, his cheeks gaunt, his eyebrows and eyelashes colorless.
His wife said he looked like a little grandpa.
His mom broke down when she saw his picture in the game day program.
The color and the life are returning to Myers' face. He has the glow of a guy who not only is always on the football field but also was on the golf course every day this summer.
That wasn't something he did a year ago when he was so fatigued and so pained.
Doctors removed Myers' cancerous kidney in March. He still receives injections to help build back his bones. He still takes chemo pills — 14 days on, seven days off — and he expects to have to take those meds indefinitely. But about the only problem he has now is blistering on his feet and hands, a side effect from his chemo.
“If that's the worst thing, we're doing good,” he said. “Once I'm off (the chemo cycle), within two days, I'm good and I'll feel good for about 14 or so.
“It's a lot more good than bad.”
These days, the same could be said of his football team.
Once a big-school powerhouse, Moore was decimated when the district split off a third school a few years ago. It entered this season having last won a game on Halloween 2008.
It showed promise during three nondistrict games, playing well in stretches and hanging with its district brethren from Westmoore and Southmoore — much like it did Thursday night in a 13-10 loss to Edmond Memorial. But the Lions couldn’t quite muster a win in those first three games.
That changed last week.
“It was huge,” quarterback Corey Reeves said of the victory. “We had that cloud over our head from the losing streak. But it's over.”
Receiver Joe Haddox said, “It feels good. It really does.”
Part of that is because of Myers. Even though he points to them, they point right back to him. They know his struggles. They see his battles.
“Coach Myers is one of the strongest men I've met in my life,” Reeves said.
And when the final seconds on that game and the losing streak ticked away last Friday night, Reeves was one of the many players who made sure to give Myers a big ol' bear hug.
“Man,” the quarterback said, “it's good to get that out of the way.”
“Let's go get some more,” the coach replied.
Could the feel-good story get better? Could Myers and his Moore Lions somehow make a push for a playoff spot? Could they just keep on winning?
I'm rooting for it.