Sunday, August 14

High School Friday Nights are back

All around South Carolina, young men and coaches have been working on the game of football.  The fans got their first glimpse of the work the coaches and young men do over the weekend with Jamborees that have teams scrimmaging against each other.  Next, week, so called Week Zero to the SCHL, football gets real.  A full slate of games follows the next Friday night.  

High school football is ingrained in the culture of South Carolina.  Even the kids that do not go out for the team have pride in their school's team.  At most schools, dozens, if not hundreds of kids work hard to be good football players, good band members, good cheerleaders, managers, and spirit club members.  All the students and the coaches, be them paid or volunteer, of the football team, the band, the cheerleaders, they all work hard to put on a Friday night for the fans.  Others are involved, like the transportation people who make sure the kids and coaches get the buses and vans needed to get to the games and do not forget the officials and the people with South Carolina High School League and South Carolina Band Directors Association that work to make the contests fair and safe.  

All those people come to come together to be a part of the special tradition that is fall high school Friday nights in South Carolina.  Life is fast, it comes and goes so quick, but all those involved from the fan, to the head coach, to the band director to the guy volunteering to sell tickets or sodas, to the cop who works for half his pay or free to provide security,  they are a part of the tradition of fall Friday nights that lives on. 

Indeed, the uniting force and tradition of high school Friday nights brings together all sorts of people.  People of different races, incomes, political ideas, agendas, beliefs, talents, they come together to give us the games.  When one thinks of that, it is hard not passionate about something that does so much good, even in the worst of times. 

Think on it, when it is fourth down and goal at the one and the home team has the ball, down by six with a few seconds left, the liberal and conservatives both cheer for the touchdown for the home team and , if they cheer on the other side, they cheer for the defense to hold.  Nothing transcends all our differences in South Carolina like our high school football teams.  And, our bands add to it, some of them with outstanding performances  that get the same different people up cheering and clapping for the same team.  

Having coached two sports now, basketball and football, I believe that every kid counts on a team.  The kid who shows up to practice and practices hard makes the starters better.  He or she makes a difference.  But, in the big scheme, everyone counts on this great tradition that is High School Friday nights.  Every role in that night counts and makes South Carolina a better place to live.  It is a special thing.  

So, if you are looking for something to do in the next several Friday nights, go to a high school football game.  Buy a hot dog, watch the game, enjoy the band.  Look around and see the best of South Carolina from towns like little McBee to big cities like Columbia.  The money you spend for a ticket, for the hot dog, etc., goes to the worthy cause of  giving South Carolina one of is finest traditions that brings out the best in people:  High School Friday Night. 

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