For many students across the country today marks the end of summer vacation and the return to school.
For those of us no longer in school, today means a return to having to pay attention to school zones along our daily commute.
Aside from the impacts of school zones and roads clogged with big yellow buses, for many people the start of school means a return to high school football on Friday nights, or in some cases Thursday nights or Saturday mornings.
Back when I covered high school football varsity games were only held on Friday nights. But with more teams sharing stadiums it is now necessary to play games on multiple nights during the week.
And as the packed parking lots at the stadium by my house have shown year after year, despite being known for their “Friday night lights” the people of Texas do not seem to mind which night a game is one as long as there is a game to watch.
And make no mistake the people in Texas take their high school football very seriously.
Many football teams receive police escorts from their school to the stadium they are playing at. Of course these are usually districts that have their own police departments but still picture a couple of school buses with a police car in front of them speeding down the road and you get the idea of how seriously they take things.
It should be noted that the band travels in its own police escort free caravan in most cases. After all, say what you want but no one goes to a football game just to hear the band so in the event that the band caravan did not arrive for some reason the game would still go on as long as both teams were there.
Another example of how big high school football is in Texas is the fact that people still attend games multiple decades after graduating. This level of support from the community can certainly be a good thing, but it can also be creepy in a way when people are still trying to relive their glory days through current players.
I am not saying that all non-students that attend high school sporting events are still trying to hang on to those carefree years of their youth but I have certainly seen my share of folks who are during my years as a reporter on the gridiron.
Yes there are still a few people out there like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite that just can’t give up those high school glory days despite how many seasons past they are.
While I know it will never happen I really wish that people would just let the kids be kids and enjoy the sport while they can without the added pressure of trying to live someone else’s life or make up for opportunities that their uncles or fathers didn’t have during their high school playing days.
While the arrival of football cannot be delayed, and while I am certainly a fan of NCAA and NFL games, I will once again refrain from attending any high school football games and will instead focus my Friday nights on the last month of the baseball season and the tight races for the playoffs.
Football very well may be the “national sport of Texas” but for me I still prefer the National Pastime of baseball. Although with the Houston Astros losing two catchers in as many days to concussions it appears that baseball is slowly becoming as injury prone as football so maybe it will gain a greater foothold in the minds of Texas fans.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go plan an alternate route to avoid getting stuck behind slow moving buses.
Copyright 2013 R. Anderson