I spent part of my Monday evening at the football field at Estill County High School surrounded by a sea of blue and the roar of applauds and screams. The Meet the ‘Neers event was a nice relief from my typical Monday nights plagued by city government meetings and then late nights at the office.
While I was there, I started to feel so nostalgic and a little sad. As I watched the high school football players prepare for the event I was reminded of Friday night football games in high school.
It wasn’t until after I had graduated that I realized how much sporting events mean to the average high school student.
When I was a freshman, every sporting event I was able to attend meant a Friday night away from mom and dad. This also meant a Friday night spent with my friends. Granted, as a freshman, my night usually ended as soon as the game was over and I walked home.
Living next door to the high school meant easy access to things going on at school when I was too young to drive. As freshmen, my friends and I wanted to do anything we could to be involved and be seen at school.
Please don’t let me fool you, though. I was not the biggest or most loyal fan in high school. I didn’t always realize the value of school sports like I do now.
However, being at the event Monday night made me wish I had gone to more. I started thinking about how when I was a sophomore I wasn’t as excited to go the games and when I was a junior, I started my first job and it’s not easy to make it to games when you work every weekend.
I guess, the thing about high school football games is that it’s not as much about going to see the game as it is about going to support the classmates you’ve known since elementary school or to see that boy from your elective class you happen to have a crush on out on the field. The games are also about being with friends and in small towns, games are even about being with family.
School sports in small towns, like my hometown and Irvine, are about community as much as they are about competition.
I know in my hometown the stadium was always packed. The student section would be going crazy down front and the parents, teachers and other spectators would be cheering from the back of the stands.
As a junior I remember coming home from work and being able to hear the cheering at my house. I can picture in my head just what the stadium lights look like from my bedroom window and what it felt like to hear the announcer and the screaming crowd.
As a senior, I remember trying to go to as many games as possible. It was as if I now realized if I didn’t go now, I would miss my chance. I was right.
Senior year ended and I remember feeling like I hadn’t done enough to make my high school years worthwhile. I remember wishing I had been more involved, I had worked less and I had spent more Friday nights at games with my best friends.
I can’t take that back. But I can say that makes me more than excited to be the person responsible for covering high school sports in Estill County.
I can’t wait for fall sport weather and to be in the stands in my new town and cheering on the local teams. I’m eager to bundle up in my first Engineers hoodie, grab my hot cocoa and my camera and make up for all the games I missed in high school.
After all, it’s the best way to be part of the community in a town like this, right?
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I’ve been made aware a mistake was printed in my column last week. I am told the man who initiated the previous wet/dry vote in Estill County was not Josh Rison, but actually a man named Joey Rison. I got my information from an article written by former staff write Don White in which he incorrectly named the person circulating the petition several years ago. I accessed the article for my column last week and was not aware there was an error. I apologize for any confusion and the error.