Friday night lights — support your local high school team

Published 8:18 am Monday, September 16, 2019

High school football fans eagerly await Friday night — from Cloudland to Hampton to Unaka to Elizabethton to Happy Valley High. Each school has its share of fans.
Friday night football remains special in this part of Northeast Tennessee — not just for those directly involved or even the schools, but for entire communities, especially the smaller ones.
Fans of local high schools don’t go to games for an evening’s diversion or entertainment, or wear a school’s color simply because its name is on their diplomas. They’re looking for something to take pride in and brag about, especially when there are school and community rivalries involved. And, yes, some of those old football players from years gone by are looking to relive their own glory days on the field or the sidelines. And, there’s nothing wrong with revisiting one’s youth for a couple of hours.
In addition to football, there is plenty of pageantry. Bands play fight songs, cheerleaders leap into the night sky and fans scream their head off.
Each Friday night, high school football stadiums in the area are packed with fans to watch a bunch of fired-up teenage boys take part in a true piece of Americana.
That’s because Friday night high school football games have become much more than simple athletic contests. They’ve become a part of our community fabric.
It’s a chance to catch up with old friends, put aside our differences and problems and cheer on the alma mater.
There’s plenty to love about Friday night football.
A couple of weeks ago, the Elizabethton Cyclones opened their season on a high note by beating Science Hill, a long-time rival, for the second year in a row. Now, that’s something to brag about!
Football is a game…it involves competition and practice long before the season begins. There are lessons to be learned from being part of a team. Each player is an important part of the team, and the game is much greater than any one player. In each game players are pushed to both their physical and mental limits. They are expected to give their all and persevere against adversity and emerge a winner, even though that’s not always reflected on the scoreboard.
Beyond the gridiron, area students have practiced through summer band to execute well-orchestrated halftime shows. Not to mention the pom and cheerleader squads showing team spirit.
Pride involves more than supporting your team. It involves good behavior and sportsmanship.
This year, we should all make a concerted effort to make sure that we’re acting appropriately when howling in support of our favorite team.
Let’s think before we yell.
When you’re ready to lambaste the coach for poor play calling or sitting your son, bite your tongue and ask yourself a simple question: How would you feel if that coach was your son or husband or father and you heard someone blasting him in front of hundreds of your friends and neighbors?
You’d be pretty darned angry, wouldn’t you? Rightfully so.
And when you feel the urge to publicly berate a teenage boy who is trying his best while performing in a highly-charged, public environment, pause for a moment and think to yourself: Is this what a reasonable, mature adult should be doing?
We’re pretty sure what your answer would be.
Finally, when the coaches and players get caught up in the heat of battle, it’s understandable that their emotions will run high. Here’s hoping, however, that they can rein in those feelings before they explode into unsportsmanlike, or even violent, actions.
Coaches and players need to be especially vigilant when dealing with the officials. They need to remember that the men in stripes are people, too, with wives and children and parents. Treat them like you would like to be treated.
You can never go wrong following the golden rule.
Whooping it up is a big part of Friday night high school football. So get off the couch and go out and support your local high school football team and marching band.

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