Saturday, October 17, 2009

On High School Football

Nick Sloan has a wonderful post about watching high school football, the honor of watching the kids give it all. No pay for play here. They play because they love the sport. They play for the pride of representing their community and school. Even in this fractured day and age, young boys/men come out to the gridiron to play.

Oh, in some places, like Texas, the players are treated very well, almost like professionals. They even have fan clubs, and hangers-on, looking for a free ride. But in most of the free world, they are kids, playing a game and having fun. (Olathe North and Lawrence Kansas City Star photo)
And they play hard! There is nothing easy for anyone on a high school gridiron. Play goes on until the whistle blows. But in all the high school football I've watched, I have rarely seen dirty play. And unsportsmanlike conduct is not tolerated. Just ask the Ruskin player who got ejected earlier this year for poor conduct. (Burlington and South Burlington Burlington Free Press photo. Note the charming weather.)
Sometimes, you see some sweet football. The great catch (here are two examples), the play perfectly executed, the sack exactly when needed. It's amazing to watch the kids rise up to the occasion. (Essex and Burlington Burlington Free Press photo)
Sometimes, of course, they don't quite meet the needs of the situation: a critical penalty, a fumble, a blown assignment, and victory is lost. But that is something to learn too, how to respond to adversity, how to come back from defeat, how to know that you can contribute even when the situation looks bad. (Lone Jack and University Academy Kansas City Star photo)

How did I get started watching high school football? Doing ambulance standbys in Pennsylvania! Providing just-in-case EMS service at Lower Merion High School (Kobe Bryant's alma mater). In Vermont, when I lived there, there were a good number of Saturday day games (to skip playing every game in the cold of night. Also, some schools may not have had lights at their fields.), I would go and take my camera. Since Vermont games are much more relaxed and laid back, I actually snuck onto the sidelines. Even just working the sideline outside the bench area, I was able, especially as I got used to the game at that ground level, to get some outstanding photos. (Remember film? Well, they are in that format. Now, there's a project...)

So, I would encourage you; go out and see some high school football this year. This is the best part of the season, when teams are trying to get into state playoffs. But it doesn't last forever. High school football is done in November.

As I've advised before, keep your eyes on the field during play. You might miss something otherwise.

Tada! The 100th post. Now, I can be syndicated. Whodathunkit?

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