Thursday Night Lights

So my new school has a varsity football team.

This may not seem like a big deal but, you need to understand that it’s a private Jewish school… and Jews are not know for football. This is the team’s first season and nobody expects superstardom from them, but they’ve been working hard and, although I have just met the kids, I really am proud of how hard they are working and I wish them the best.

They lost their first game last week, 18-0 (I couldn’t attend) and, last night, I headed north to watch them play their second game. I arrived about four minutes in to the first quarter and the opposing team had just scored their second touchdown. They failed to convert on either extra-point attempt so, as I took my seat, my boys were down, 12-0.

They returned the kick-off well and, from the first play I saw, I was riveted. I’ve never watched much live football – and never high school – so I found every facet of the game interesting. I won’t bore you by recounting the game, which was a rout, but I will spend time on one particular drive: late in the fourth, the boys returned another kick-off beautifully and, despite being set back a considerable distance due to a clipping penalty, they still had good field position, starting just shy of the 50-yard line. If I am remembering correctly, the boys earned two first downs on the drive, picking up yards on nice pass plays out to the flats (reminiscent of the routes that made Tony Gonzalez famous) as well as a couple of nice pass plays up the middle and a short run or two. They wound up with 1st and goal on the 9-yard line and just couldn’t put the ball into the end zone. It was the highlight of the game as far as I’m concerned.

The most fun was watching the few fans who had made the hour-long trip out to cheer the boys on. Football is a game watched from a considerable distance and, without the assistance of analysts and instant-replay, the distractions of friends, texts and concession stands can prove to be too much for most student-fans to ignore. But, for the most part, everyone seated near me stayed focused on the on-field action… it was tons of fun and, at the final horn, I felt admiration for how hard the boys on the team have worked.

It reminded me how important sport is to a young man’s development and I’m going to do my best to get back and watch them again. And, I’m not going to support them… I’m going for selfish reasons, really: I like what watching them does for me.

Go ‘Canes!