Confession: I still like going to high school football games. I love them actually. I really do. I love that here in the South they’re such a huge tradition, and way of life. Friday nights are set aside to cheer on the boys. Generations come out to support the players; parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, heck, even people with no relation to the ones on the field come out just to support the community high school, and for some, to live vicariously through the boys. I love that it brings entire towns together. Restaurants and shops hang up newspapers and posters supporting the team. I love the feel of being outside when it starts getting cool. Watching the light fade from sunlight to the glow of the bright stadium lighting. I love the smell of the hot dogs and hamburgers and popcorn. The clashing of helmets and the clicking of cleats on the sidewalk. They are so nostalgic and comforting. High school football games remind me that the world really is still all right. Every Friday night is like taking a step back in time where jobs, homework, deadlines, due dates, politics, and the stress of “real life” just disappears.
Fortunately for me, I have a legit excuse to go to high school football games. In fact, they even let me in for free! I get to hang out with my lovely Hall High School friends at the Halls football games. The Halls community makes the games so fun. They do it just the way I love it. Little businesses shut down, there’s no traffic on the roads come 8 o’clock on Friday nights, everybody puts on their bright red and comes out to support the devils. It’s so fun to hang out in the student section and to cheer and yell with the kids. Halls is so great, but I will always have a special little place in my heart for Bearden football games.
Well after a slight miscommunication and a little arguing, I ended up going back to a Bearden football game Friday night. Two of my three favorite guys (my dad and Sam) convinced me to tag along with them. I was a little nervous about going back to the Home of the Bulldogs for the first time in three years, but I am so glad I did. I don’t mind that I’ll probably be judged for this, but what a wonderful Friday night it was. Kenny Chesney’s new song “The Boys of Fall” was playing in my head and memories were flooding back all night. My best friends out there on the field have been replaced with new kids who were only freshmen when I left. A couple of friend’s little brothers are on the team, but for the most part, all the faces are new ones. And they sure are good. It looks like the class on 2011 might give the class on 2008 a run for our money. And I’d love to see it happen (especially against the Admirals!).
Even with the University of Tennessee right down the road, the orange and white can’t replace the feel of intimacy and intense support for high school games. I am so thankful to grow up in part of the country that slows down and takes time every Friday night to encourage the local high schoolers. It’s such a wonderful feeling being surrounded and supported by an entire community growing up, and not just in football, but also in every area. I’m proud to say I’ll forever support the maroon and gray. Go Dawgs.