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Cheap Seats: Small Town Football

By Les Barnhart | October 20th, 2004

It is no secret that I am a lover of football. Yes, I truly love football. No matter what level, where it is being played, when they are playing or even who is playing. It would be a stretch to include the Canadian Football League but in a pinch it would probably do. Of the football I watch, my favorite is easily at the high school level. I am fortunate to be able to call many local games on the hometown radio station. Not only does it allow me to babble on about the offensive and defensive line play or to explain how a zone blitz works, but it also allows me to be witness to some really good games played by great athletes of which most will never see the bright lights of Division I football.

Small town high school football comprises all that is good about the sport of football. Those who are playing are usually playing for several reasons. The main reason is that they love to play football and to hear the crowd cheer when they take the field wearing their schools colors with pride. They know that someday they too will return to that same field to watch the next in line take their number and continue the tradition that has been set forth before them. You see, a small town and their football team go hand in hand. Every Friday night you see the crowds fill up with familiar faces from around town. You look through the crowd and in addition to the current players parents you will see decades of former football players and cheerleaders that cheered their team on still coming out to watch their alma mater and of course to tell stories about their days in the spotlight.

There is truly something special about going to a Friday high school football game. It starts with the sight of the football field lit up in the darkness like a descending spaceship from an old fashion sci-fi movie. Then comes the sound of the marching band as they pound out their familiar tunes as they provide a wonderful segue for the fans as they file through the gates toward their seats (don’t forget your program and game ball ticket). The next step is the concession stand (where the schools truly make their money) that has filled the brisk night air with the intoxicating smells of hot chocolate, french fries and popcorn. Then it is on to your seat where the $2.00 ticket you bought serves to transport its holder to a time when their biggest concern was making sure they had their homework done on time. For the next two hours, all in attendance are provided an escape from politics, the war and all things not related to the wholesomeness that is small town high school football.

The ball is on the tee, the referee has blown the whistle and all the attention has shifted to where it belongs, for another chapter is about to be written in the memories of those on the dewy, white-lined, grassy slice of heaven.

Now, if that guy on the radio would just stop babbling about the line play…


Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart

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