It looks like the weather may even cooperate on this first night of high school football in Missouri. The Sikeston Bulldogs will take to the field at home tonight against Jackson in the season opener for both teams.
High school football in small-town America is a tradition that predates this writer and virtually every reader. The Friday night football games become a source of community pride and bragging rights as they have for decades. We place value on sporting events in this neck of the woods and football remains king.
High school memories often revolve around football games regardless if you're a player or spectator. It's the atmosphere, the pomp, the lights, the marching band, the cheerleaders and the moms and dads. It's the eyes of a community focused on a field of battle and it's the coffee shop conversation the following morning. In short, it's a slice of middle America.
I drove by the football stadium this morning. It now sits squeaky clean, the field freshly mowed and a new coat of paint here and there. Tonight it will become the source of countless memories that will last a lifetime in some cases. For a brief time, an entire community will come together with one common purpose. It's not a world shattering event and yet it's important.
Friday night football games are important not for the score or the final outcome as much as the gathering itself. Sure, everyone would like to win and carry bragging rights into the next week. Yet regardless of the final score, it brings hundreds and thousands of people together with one common goal, if for only one night. And though social and cultural changes threaten so many traditions of our youth, the football game excitement remains a constant. That is not likely to change anytime soon.
We wish both teams success. We'll be interested in the final score of course but more interested in the continuation of a tradition that dates back to fathers and grandfathers in years past. A new era of Bulldogs will continue that tradition tonight with the same level of excitement and pride that has occurred through the years.
And regardless of your enthusiasm for sports, the tradition is important not just for the players but for our community as well.