The lights of O’Fallon Township High School Football Complex post game!
I still remember my pregame ritual. I remember the songs on the CD we listened to as a team in the locker room as we were getting our ankles taped and getting our equipment ready. I remember going out first to warm up because I was among other positions, our kicker. I remember trying to be the last one out of the locker room each time, so that I could see how high on top of the “Dawg Pile” I could jump. These are things that are ingrained in my head. This was my high school football experience. I couldn’t tell you what hour I had anatomy/physiology my senior year, but I can still tell you what route I ran on “Red Twins 16 Z Post”. It was 13 years ago that I last played under the lights on a Friday night, but I could still tell you what it felt like, almost like it was just last year. I remember my team mates, the cheer leaders, the packed bleachers, the tunnel of kids and fans we would run through to get to our field, all of these memories, still are vivid. Some would say I am hanging on to the “good ole days”, they may be right, or maybe I just bought the hype.
Unless you have played high school football underneath those bright Friday night lights, it is a hard task to explain the wave of lifelong emotions that you have for that experience. The feelings of brotherhood, teamwork, joy, elation, defeat, sorrow and anxiousness just to name a few, and that could have been just one night. We thought we were on top of the world, not a care in the world when we hit that field. That was the hype. The parents, the coaches, the community and the journalists for the local newspaper, all sold us the hype, that we call high school football. We bought it and we would buy it more and more if it were on a store shelf.
That is the great thing about high school football. The hype. There really isn’t a better feeling still, than to see these kids play this game on Friday nights. It is our time to get away from the realities of the world. Our time to put to test everything that we have been working for in the off season. The hype was better than any feeling in the world. If you think the kids are the only ones who have these feelings, pay attention to the coaches on the sideline. We jump up and down like kids, we run down the sideline watching a kid run with a interception, we jump up to give high fives to kids who are running off the field after a 4th down stop. All of this is for the kids, it is so they can have their moment on that field where nothing else matters. We give them the information to be successful, but that isn’t the best part. The best part is seeing all that information get put to use on game night.
I still get goose bumps when I see “hype” videos for upcoming games. I don’t even play anymore, but that doesn’t stop me from getting the chills watching them. That is what we call the hype of the game. There is no better feeling in the world, like euphoria that happens once a week. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I don’t buy the hype anymore, the torch has been passed. It is now my job, to sell the hype. Sell it to these kids who play this great game. We do all we can to get these kids as excited as they can possibly get about this wonderful game. They aren’t guaranteed anything in this game. All it takes is one moment to end the hype of this game. We remind them to enjoy every second of it, cherish every moment. Don’t take anything for granted out there. Look around, appreciate what is going on, you will remember this for a good long time, perhaps even tell your children about it in the future. This is the hype, buy it, love it, hold on to it, cherish every single, solitary moment of it.
You can’t buy this hype forever, but if you are lucky, someday, you can sell it!