It’s time for my Midweek Recommendation, in which I commend to your attention books or music or movies or anything I find worth recommending.
Go watch a high school football game.
That’s my midweek recommendation. Now, I know some of you aren’t sports fans, so you can feel free to ignore this. For those of you who are, and if it has been a while since you’ve been to a high school sporting event, you should think about it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that my son, who is a 10th grader, plays for the team of the high school where I teach. (That’s NOT him in the picture below; this is just the best pic the right size of a kid from our team…) So, I am not exactly neutral. At the same time, just because I’ve been pulled to the sidelines to watch more high school football in the last few years than I have ever watched before by my own offspring, doesn’t mean I haven’t learned some things from the experience that are valid for any casual sports fan.
At any rate, my main point – and maybe my only point – is that if you’re like me and you primarily watch pro football, or even major college football, it might be time to go watch some kids play the game again. It can be maddening – shockingly, adolescents on the field can make some bad calls once and a while – but it can also be really exciting and satisfying. They’re kids, and win or lose, they leave it all on the field and when they come together, it is something special.
Again, I’m a little biased, not just because my son plays, but because our team just won a District Championship after our second upset win in a row, and now we’ve advanced to the state quarterfinal. We’ve never been this far, we’re prohibitive underdogs against a perennial football power, but that doesn’t matter. After losing both our starting receivers for the season midyear, we’ve bounced back to go on quite a run. Whatever happens now, this team has done some amazing things.
So again I say to you, find a local team in your area – if you don’t have a natural affiliation, invent one – and go cheer some kids on. It may not be poetry in motion, but you might just see a team catch lightning in a bottle and make some magic.