Sunday, September 04, 2005

« Back to school means back to football »

By Matthew Cary

Waking up early, missing the bus because you didn't do the previously mentioned action, having your lunch money stolen by some guy threatening to give you a swirly, and then realizing you forgot to do your homework for half your classes. High school can be rough times. Is there anything to look forward to during "back to school" time?

When the end of the week rolls around, it doesn't matter how bad your week went or how much money you lost to avoid getting your head shoved in a toilet, there is always one night where you can look up and see the light. Friday night.

“[the game] was still the place to be... like the bar or dance club before you get to college.”

It's the one day of the week where half the student population gets together, if not to watch the game, then to walk around the stadium because of the simple fact that they are not at home. But just as my esteemed colleague, Matt Sussman, showed how the Little League World Series is baseball in the purist form, the same can also be said when describing High School Football.

For four years, I went to every one of my high schools football games. I was there to support my home team, win or lose. Being on the field is the closest you could get to the game, and I was there. I was in the band. (Hold back your insults; I was in the drum line. I don't see a movie named after anything you were a part of.)

Regardless of the fact that I only saw about five minutes of the actual game every week, the high school football game was still the place to be Friday nights. It's like the bar or dance club before you get to college.

High School football still has all the same thrills as the NFL. Plus, you don't have to pay at least $40 to see a preseason game from the upper deck. Instead you can pay a few dollars to sit on the unforgiving metal bleachers with nothing more than the pants you came in and possibly that foam pad with your schools logo on it between you and the steel you're sitting on.

Enjoy the games while you can, however, because once you graduate highschool, you will more than likely only come back and see one more game. You will do as most of the rest of the graduates do and come back for the first home game of the season after you left. That is usually when you realize that going to the high school games lost their luster and you find it less important. Plus, you and your friends have gone to college now. It's time to root for your college football team. There are certain occasions that you may wish to get up and go see your team play again, and that's if they make the state playoffs. Two years ago, I went to a playoff game with Mr. Sussman. It was a roommate rivalry game. His high school played my high school, and won. But that rivalry situation made the game even better.

Rivalry games are another aspect of high school football that makes it worth watching. Every team has at least one rival team in it's conference. Usually, it is the best two or three teams in the conference that are rivals. I remember back home, the conference title would either go to Brunswick or Strongsville. These two teams have a great rivalry, and the fact that this game is usually the last game of the season adds to the anticipation. Plus, this game is usually played around Halloween, which just added some excitement to the atmosphere. The rivalry between Medina and Brunswick is an interesting one because Medina's head coach was Brunswicks previous head coach, and until 2003, was Brunswicks winningest coach in school history.

But if you are like me, then you like to keep track of how your high school football team is doing every year. For example, I know my Brunswick Blue Devils are 2-0 with wins over Cleveland Heights and Lakewood, and are rated 11th around the city of Cleveland.

But what's the point of following your teams record you may ask. You never hear about these kids after high school. This may be true, but you never know if or when someone from your school could be a Myron Rolle or Matthew Stafford.

Most of your gridiron heroes that you saw in the hallways between classes won't become more than just that. However, their imressive records live on in record books like the Ohio High School Athletic Association's football record book. See if your state has one. It's worth checking out, remembering the glory days of your youth, maybe even sitting there with your kids and saying "I was there for that," and leaving out the parts where you had your lunch money stolen.


Blogger Suss & The Family Stone said...

I'll give you "Drumline." My squad has "Bring it on."

September 05, 2005 6:51 PM  

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