York County Councilman William “Bump” Roddey deserves credit for promoting the labeling of Rock Hill as “Football City, USA.” But we aren’t convinced the motto belongs on the city’s new downtown water tower.
Roddey has been testing the waters for his idea on social media. But he made it official at a recent county council meeting, where he asked fellow council members and others to help him bolster support for the project.
Roddey is on firm ground in claiming the right to call Rock Hill “Football City USA,” a phrase coined in 2008 by the late Barry Byers, former sports editor for The Herald. The city has been churning out NFL-bound football players for decades.
Jadaveon Clowney currently is fulfilling the sky-high expectations he enjoyed as top choice in the 2014 NFL draft as a starting defensive end for the Houston Texans. He is a graduate of South Pointe High School, which earlier this month won its fifth state football championship.
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Cordarrelle Patterson, who went to Northwestern High School, is a star on special teams with the Minnesota Vikings. The city has produced at least 21 other professional players, and Northwestern’s Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State’s quarterback, is a potential first-round NFL draft pick.
In other words, “Football City, USA” is no brag, just fact.
The question, however, is whether putting that label on a water tower is the ideal way to display it. Roddey said the name would remain visible on the tower for the next 30 years or more, but putting it on the one downtown tower would have limited visibility and the project would be costly – somewhere between $50,000 and $75,000.
Roddey has suggested applying for grants or looking for private contributors willing to help pay for the project. Again, though, is that the best bang for the buck?
Why not, for example, place the name prominently at District 3 Stadium, the place where so many future NFL stars began to shine? The sign would be viewed weekly during football season by thousands of fans, and also could be seen by passing cars in one of the city’s highest traffic areas.
The entryway to the city off of Interstate 77 at the Dave Lyle exit near the Galleria also would be a good spot for a sign touting the name. That, too, would be seen by thousdands of passing motorists.
The York County Regional Chamber of Commerce could produce smaller signs to distribute to local businesses and bumper stickers to pass out to residents. The city could be plastered with the label.
We think Roddey is on to something with the proposal to plug this slogan. It meshes perfectly with the growing effort to promote Rock Hill as a center for sports tourism.
We hope Roddey’s proposal sparks a serious discussion. Even if the name doesn’t end up on a water tower, it’s a good idea.