Opening night's spectacle follows summer of family bonding
Posted August 29, 2003

By Bob Frisk Asst. Managing Editor/Sports

It's Opening Night 2003, and I love everything about this very special event.

I love high school football, and there is nothing quite like the opener.

I love the anticipation as you wake up in the morning.

I love walking through the stadium gates for the first time, joining the crowd that is a swirl of motion, some young, some old, all somehow smiling.

I love the excess of color, sound and movement.

I love seeing old friends again as I enter the stadium.

I love watching both teams run out on the field for the first time in the new season.

I love seeing kids' faces by the fences or in the stands as they watch their high school heroes get ready to rock and roll and think, "Some day that's going to be me out there."

I love watching both teams warm up as the clock ticks down to the kickoff.

I love watching that first long run of the season.

I love watching that first completed pass.

I love watching that receiver flag down a pass or that linebacker stick the ball carrier.

I love watching a team's response to that first touchdown of the season.

I love high school football because of fourth and goal, first and long.

I love high school football because it's a passionate but friendly game that requires its participants to ride the high wire of emotion. Yes, there's a great fear factor in football because it's a macho game. It's each player saying, "I don't want to let you show me up."

I love high school football because the game appeals to the most basic emotions of the human psyche and allows for a healthy release of those emotions - for players and fans.

I love high school football because it is played on overdrive and cheered at the same speed.

I love high school football because it is a sport that exemplifies the civic nature of modern athletics - our guys vs. your guys.

I love high school football because of the relationship of the team to the community. A football team can exist somewhere in the pulse that runs through a community, and you can call it a love affair.

I love high school football because the life of the game is found not only on the field but in the peripheral activities.

I love the entreaties and the enthusiasm of the cheerleaders leading ritualized chants and cheers, the spirit of the pompom squad, the stirring sounds of the bands.

I love high school football because I love watching passionate kids and not whining millionaires.

Depending on where you go to see a game, high school football can be equal parts festival, celebration, party, competition.

How sweet it is.

I want you to follow those lights tonight to your nearest high school stadium. Don't stay home. The kids need our support.

I love high school football. It's a deeply rooted piece of Americana, and it's back for another exciting season.

Let's enjoy it together.

 

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