08/17/12 — Stevens: It is game day...finally

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Stevens: It is game day...finally

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 17, 2012 1:48 PM

High school football can galvanize a community, unite student bodies and evoke school spirit like no other sport.

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly cut grass, the look of a newly painted field and the glow of stadium lights on a Friday night.

Each summer as July gives give way to August and high school football practice begins, gone is the pain of a disappointing season from the previous year. In its place is the optimism that accompanies the start of a new season and the belief "that this is finally our year."

High school football is the sport in its purest form. There are no multi-million dollar contracts, no stadiums named after banks and no ticket prices that require a second mortgage on your house.

High school football is about young men proudly wearing their jerseys to school on game days, renewing bitter rivalries and playing for the name on the front of the uniform, not the one on the back.

High school football occupies the banter of old men in barber shops and diners, gives fans one more reason to reach for a newspaper on the weekends and the place where local legends are born.

It is a sport played just one day a week but talked about for seven.

High school football is where lifelong friendships are born and where sons work hard to carry on the legacy of fathers and grandfathers who once donned the same uniform. It is where unforgettable wins and painful losses that haunt players the rest of their lives are experienced.

High school football conjures up a passion amongst its fans provoking them to take long road trips, sit in sweltering heat and to endure freezing cold. It inspires mothers to learn the definition of pass interference and causes fathers to swell with a pride in their sons that is difficult to put into words.

After more than eight months of waiting, high school football season is finally here. The hard work has been put in over the summer, new teammates have become acclimated with one another and playbooks memorized.

This is a day fans in every small town and big city have been anxiously anticipating for what feels like forever.

This is not just any day.

This is game day.