Sports VIEW

Marching to their own beats

Lisa Paine — Sports Editor

Lisa Paine — Sports Editor

Shhh. Do you hear that? It’s the fast approaching football season marked by the telltale sounds of football cleats on asphalt the cadence of the drum lines across the area as they prepare to march to their own beats.

Strike up the marching band, grease the pigskin and get your tickets now — high school football is in full swing starting this Friday.

Nothing brings a community together faster than the start of the annual gridiron clashes as witnessed by the local business windows once again championing their favorite teams. Gone will be the back-toschool sale signs, and in their place, colorful dragons, bulldogs, broncos and mustangs, with big cats and hawks and eagles sharing space. Go every team!

It’s also still key to point out that as you stand cheering the team as they exit the field for halftime, that some of you will be admonished to sit, down, please! You see, you’re going to be blocking the view of the many parents, grandparents and fans of the marching bands, as they take their turn on the field. For those fans, the halftime festivities that center around the marching band, cheerleading and pom pon squads is what they paid their money to watch.

An equal number of folks will thumb their noses at that notion, but in fact, many marching bands actually outnumber the football teams in size and rival many in the state with their uniforms, musical prowess and impressive size.

Now, while most of the high school marching bands in our coverage areas are not that large, it is notable that several have made trips to participate in college bowl games and parades, earning high accolades and coveted trophies in the end. They can stand proud and take a bow, as their hard work definitely does not go unnoticed by their fans.

However, getting back to the main draw that is the football game, what better way to spend a Friday night than cheering on your local team under the big lights. For many, the first home game will be a first-time ritual that has more meaning as their kids are now on the coveted varsity roster. No more Wednesday or Thursday games for them. They now take up their positions with the Friday night fans. The stakes are bigger at this level, and so is the play and the excitement.

And, as always, as we all sit here contemplating the opponents for the first games of the season, take it easy on your kids. The going isn’t always easy and when you stand and scream their names at the top of your lungs when they falter, trust me, they hear you loud and clear; and so does everyone else. When the lights come on, the fog starts drifting across the field, and the drum line beats its steady cadence, a whole lot rests on some pretty young shoulders and their ability to withstand the pressure. Let them play, support their efforts, and keep your disappointment under your hat until after the game.

Things still have not changed since last fall as far as upheaval with money problems across the state that trickles down to the schools. And, lack of interest in playing high school sports continues to set teams up for a sub par season before they even get started. Schools are continuing to cancel golf, cross country and some soccer programs, and freshmen sports are unable to field enough kids to have a season. That’s just sad.

This is something that has to continue to stay on area athletic program budgets and discussions at the dinner table. Kids should be champing at the bit to be part of a team, not opting out.

Just a reminder to all varsity coaches and statisticians, scores from each game should be reported as soon as you can so we post the final score to our web site, Scores can be called in to 810-664- 0811 Exts. 1141-1145, Faxed to 810- 667-6309 or e-mailed to myself at or your beat reporters:,, or

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