Student Well-Being

Tornado-Ravaged Town Unites Around High School Sports

By Bryan Toporek — May 02, 2011 1 min read

The town of Tushka, Oklahoma—about 140 miles away from Oklahoma City—was devastated by a tornado back in mid-April, two weeks before a swath of tornados tore through the South.

With the town’s school destroyed as well, and many residents left to sort through the remains of their houses, only one thing has returned to normalcy: Tushka is once again rallying around high school baseball and softball, according to the Tulsa World.

In the aftermath of catastrophe, [Superintendent Bill] Pingleton huddled with school officials and made an important declaration: Play ball. Pingleton said athletics is "kind of like the tail that wags the dog" in a small town like Tushka. For everyone's sake, the dog needed wagging. "They were adamant that we get playing," [baseball coach Dewayne] Dale said. "That's our gift back to this community, that we are not dead and we are going to move on. We are going to get through this. It's the same with our softball program. They were back practicing the next day."

Since the tornado, Dale said more than 100 schools around the area have offered their assistance to the Tushka players. Some neighboring schools have offered the use of their baseball fields (Tushka’s fields are currently too structurally damaged to use); others have provided food, clothing, and money to Tushka players.

And oh, how the players have responded. The Tushka baseball team won a district title (on a borrowed field from a local school), and the softball team clinched its first berth in the state softball tournament in school history.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.