JACKSBORO, TX – Even with the destruction and devastation after a powerful EF-3 tornado ripped through the town of Jacksboro, high school baseball and softball teams carried on Wednesday – thanks to help from a town that was also affected by tornadoes.
Parents and community members drove the 30 miles to Bowie to support the baseball and softball teams.
As the Jacksboro community continues to recover, people said they wanted to forget about the devastation. For many, sport is seen as an escape or a unifier, especially in times of struggle.
Two days after the EF-3 tornado devastated Jacksboro and damaged the high school and elementary school, high school officials decided to play their games at Bowie High School instead of canceling Wednesday night’s softball and baseball games .
Two tornadoes from Monday night’s outbreak also hit the Bowie area, but schools and facilities there were spared.
AFTER: Texas tornado outbreak: 10 confirmed tornadoes cross North Texas, 1 dead
Donna Murphy, an elementary school teacher in Jacksboro, was among those supporting the players on Wednesday night.
“I was in elementary school when this was all happening. It was very surreal,” she said.
Donna’s granddaughter is on the softball team. She has worked in primary school for four years. She helped keep the kids safe and tried to keep them calm.
“I was in front of the building so the wind was really strong,” she recalls. “The door that was lowered was shaking. One of the parents was holding the door.”
Donna’s husband, Mike Murphy, is also happy that games have been played.
“It’s a good distraction for the kids not to think about what happened in Jacksboro,” he said. “Just being able to support the team, to help them through this ordeal. It’s traumatic, especially for the youngsters.”
Carolyn McComis’ grandson was at baseball practice just before the storm hit the school gymnasium.
“I’m glad they were able to play tonight so quickly after the storm,” she said. “It’s a rebound.”
While game results were important, the night was to show more than Jacksboro’s ability to hit or throw. It was about showing strength and supporting a community, recovering from a disaster.
“God has protected us and we have an amazing community,” Mike said. “Support since then, meals, help when they can.”