NORMAN — In many ways, Crosstown Clash soccer is the same for everybody.
For everybody, it’s not a district game and it’s not a playoff game, even though, in the moment, it may feel bigger than both.
For everybody, it’s a barometer, a report card and a road map. Because the next time Norman High or Norman North fails to put a quality soccer team on the pitch will be the first time.
Thus, if you want to understand your strengths and weaknesses better than you did when you woke up in the morning, play a Crosstown Clash and you’re bound to know more before you get back to sleep.
But it’s different for North. And it’s really different for the North boys.
NHS boys (2-0) and girls (4-1) coaches Gordon Drummond and Tyler Hardage think much the same thing about Clash soccer. Both believe their team can win today at Oklahoma John Crain Field, the girls kicking off at 6 p.m. and the boys at 8. Yet, more than that, both know they’ll be the better for simply playing the game, win or lose.
“We’ve been able to finish the last two games we’ve been in,” Drummond said. “Now we’re facing a team with great offensive skill and we need to see how we stand up to that. It’s going to demand a great deal of composure.”
And, the thing is, Drummond really wants to know. If his team stands up to the challenge, he’ll chart a course going forward. If his teams falls short, he’ll chart a course going forward. Both courses, should everything come together, might land the Tigers in the state title game. In many ways, today can only help.
Hardage speaks of the “opportunity” tonight affords. Of course, he’d rather win, but the night isn’t wholly tied up in the result.