In every community, the head football coach is doing more than trying to win a football game on Friday night. They are teaching life lessons and often using the game as a metaphor. In 2012, the realities of life have put the frenzy of Friday night football in perspective in a number of different ways.
Saint James head football coach Mark Fischer was diagnosed with bone and kidney cancer. He told his team following a 21-13 loss to Carvers Bay on September 21st. Fischer has chosen to continue coaching while undergoing chemotherapy treatments. His team scored its first region victory with a 42-21 upset of Wilson on October 5th that earned Josh Roper an HTC Game Ball.
"When you're playing a game you have to play the cards dealt to you," Fischer said. "You have to go out there and fight an opponent. There's no difference with this. You can complain, and worry and moan and groan about it, but you still have to go lineup and play Myrtle Beach or whatever big powerhouse that it is. You sure can't worry about it, that's not going to solve anything. That's the message you got to get to your kids and you have to live with your messages and hopefully, that's what I do."
The Sharks have adopted the motto "RTI" which stands for "run through it". Every Region 8-3A team is wearing an RTI sticker on their helmet as a sign of support for Fischer and the Saint James football team.
"We play the game to win, but we also play the game for Coach Fischer," offensive lineman William Lee said. "When we won the game last week (against Wilson), Coach Fischer felt great. He didn't feel sick anymore. It's like he completely forgot that he had cancer."
Fischer is overwhelmed by the support of the community especially since he's in the middle of just his second season with Saint James after moving to the Grand Strand from Virginia.
Saint James will host a fundraiser breakfast to help support the Fischer family on Sunday, October 28th at the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet from 8am to 12 noon.