Friday Night Lights…C-ville Style

October 13, 2006 at 8:39 pm 20 comments


The football team will be entertaining before and after tonights performance by the cheerleaders.

I live in a football town. On Friday nights every household empties out and heads to the football field. It would be a good time to rob the place, because all the cops are there too. Despite a diminutive population of under 3,000, they won the state championship in 1977. They didn’t see another winning season until 2003, the year my son was a senior. We start ’em young around here, the picture is of my oldest grandgirl, Jazzmin, who’s in third grade. The boys her age are already playing biddy league football. All the hitting, spiking and running of the real game, with miniature players, and miniature cheerleaders.

I don’t have a problem with school spirit. I don’t really have a problem with football. What I do dislike about our football program is the town’s tendency to make them little demi-gods. There are men off that 1977 team who are still living in 1977. That was the pinaccle of their life. I find that so sad. To have your best day ever before you’re even old enough to vote. It’s not quite that bad anymore.

The 13 boys that played football with my son started together in biddy league. They were undefeated all the way to High School. High hopes don’t ‘cha know, the pressure on these fella’s was unbelievable. Their freshman and sophomore years they won more than they lost, but you must be undefeated to go to state. Junior year they lost one game. The summer before their senior year you could cut the tension in town with a knife.

They started two a days in August. I’d watch them running past the house before daylight. No talking, just the rolling thunder of sixty pairs of feet, the column led by the senior thirteen, pounding the streets to get in shape. They did everything together, my son and his twelve best friends. Dating, studying, getting into trouble, there were always 13 boys. They play 10 games a season, more if they win the district, then sectionals and then state.

They took the field that first game of the season to record attendance. They were the team to beat. Alumni flew in for the game from everywhere. All the local papers were represented, the radio stations and even the TV. It didn’t get any better, they won, and won, and won. Two games from taking the district, the quarterback hurt his wrist goofing around at practice and they lost their next two games. Still a good season, but the men around this town were devastated, and didn’t hesitate to let those boys know it.

My son had never made football his life, he’s interested in lots of things, so this was just a ripple on the pond of life. Most of his teammates felt the same. What was important to them was their friendship, the brotherhood they formed over their years together. At the banquet that year, the tables were set up to seat four at each. As the boys wandered in they started pushing them together, until all 13 were sitting at one big table.

Four of those boys went into the military, eight went to college and will graduate this summer, one is being bailed out of jail as I write this, drunk and disorderly. The quarterback.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Things I Wish I’d Said … or written Nanny Dog on Duty

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Velvet Sacks  |  October 13, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    I liked this post, Kat. My 17-year-old grandson plays high-school football, and his mom has mentioned a few times how closely bonded the team members are. Recently, after winning their first four games, it was discovered that their kicker was ineligible to play (missing half a class credit, I think), and those four wins turned into losses. My grandson’s reaction was to feel really sorry for the coach. He said, “We’re just gonna have to work that much harder for the rest of our games, to show him we’re winners in spite of this.”

    Your granddaughter’s a cutie, by the way.

  • 2. Big Pissy  |  October 14, 2006 at 12:23 am

    I enjoyed this post.

    Kids can learn so many good things from organized sports and other school activities~like band, dance line, etc.

    I know my daughters did. 🙂

    your granddaughter is a cutie! 🙂

  • 3. starbender  |  October 14, 2006 at 10:43 am

    God Bless our Military!

    The poor quarterback–Does he get ‘party plates’???


  • 4. Smythe  |  October 14, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    Someday the one getting bailed out of jail will write a book about his hometown experiences. Life can take strange turns. The rest of the guys will take turns bailing him out and become characters in his book.

  • 5. Kat Campbell  |  October 14, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    I don’t think kids can suffer that much and not become close, Velvet. Football is a brutal sport.

    I agree BP, extracurriculars are important for kids.

    Starbender I’m pretty sure the boy will leave with party plates, yup.

    Smythe – If one of these boys does write a book it will be the quarterback. He was a bright and shining star – smart, handsome and reckless.

  • 6. sandy  |  October 14, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Feel a little sad for the quarterback. Has his life changed because of the lost game? Maybe he should write that book.

  • 7. Just Tom  |  October 14, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    Woow! Great story for us on game day (Duck fans here are Rabid). Cindra and I have an 11 year old playing Pop Warner Football this year, his first year for full contact. It’s been a real roller coaster ride, so your story hit home. Have you seen the movie, Friday Night Lights? Sounds like it was written for your home town. You may or may not want to watch depending on how sick you are of the subject. Very well done movie, though, based on a true story.

    I’ll have to use you as a football parent counselor, since we’re going through it for the first time. Rob has already quit the team once and come back as one of their dominant players. Like I said, it’s been a roller coaster.

    Sorry to go off, you just really hit home. Well, gotta go, ducks are on the toob and I already took out the trahs so the house is clean!



  • 8. Kat Campbell  |  October 14, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Sandy – the quarterback’s story is a sad one, classic case of parents not balancing the demi-god problem. The kid is just drifting.

    Tom – Strap up and get ready to roll! It is a roller coaster and if your son is talented, important to keep him grounded. Even an NFL player knows there’s more to life than football (no matter what the coaches and fans say!)

  • 9. Jackie's Garden  |  October 14, 2006 at 7:01 pm

    Kat – your grandgirl is a beauty! As usual, you hit the nail on the head with your remark about the football players still living in 1977 – that is very sad I agree.

  • 10. Kat Campbell  |  October 14, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    It cerainly is Jackie. I hope that we’ve learned something from it here, but since we haven’t won state since, I have no test to see.

  • 11. Annie  |  October 14, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    That was a big burden for a young man to carry, too big as it turns out. If the story line connects, he’s still paying for those losses.

    I’m glad you liked my hawg picture and the pig latin. You might not have noticed the website link for writing pig latin. You’d probably have some fun there.

  • 12. Kat Campbell  |  October 14, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    NOW you tell me there’s a web link! I really enjoyed your blog.

  • 13. Catch  |  October 14, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    This sounds like my town! We have those little football players and cheerleaders too….we call them the midgets. My middle son ran with the same crowd all through high school. Now that they are all married and having babies ( some of his crowd were females, they still all get together occasionally. I think thats one of the neat things about small towns. BTW.your granddaughter is a doll!

  • 14. The Rev. Dr. Kate  |  October 15, 2006 at 6:45 am

    Your granddaughter must be Miss Personality – she is adorable! You are right on about having the high point in your life happen before you are old enough to vote. It is sad when something that should be fun turns into a mission that is unrealistice!

  • 15. Kat Campbell  |  October 15, 2006 at 7:39 am

    Isn’t is the same in every Ohio town, Catch? Every small town everywhere I imagine.

    Jazzmin is quite the pistol Dr. Kate. But most importantly, she’s a nice girl that values family, hard work and then fun.

  • 16. DaveM  |  October 15, 2006 at 8:35 am

    I dont know, if the game goes pear shaped its often the quarter backs fault.

    Kat you’ve been married long enough to know that guys remain at about 22years old in the head and its the rest of the body that ages.

  • 17. Kat Campbell  |  October 15, 2006 at 11:34 am

    Not all of them davem, some men actually get to 28 or I’ve heard of one rare case in which a gentleman actually made it to 30 mentally! Gotta love ’em, keeps us girls in nurturing mode.

  • 18. Melli  |  October 15, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    You know… like you, I don’t have a problem with school spirit. And I DON’T have a problem with Football — or any other sport! I just wish they would take the sports OUT of the schools. I wish that all sports outside the schools. Then the kids (AND THEIR PARENTS) might pay MORE attention to their studies, and quit thinking that they can “get by” because they are NEEDED on the team! I know parents who will GROUND their kids for misbehavior or failing grades — but still allow them to PLAY their sport! Something’s wrong there!

  • 19. Kat Campbell  |  October 15, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    I have to agree with you about the double standard, grounded athletes should be grounded from everything! I’m happy to say that in our school, the coach would have benched any player with a GPA under 2.5. A “c”.

  • 20. Gela  |  October 19, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    I just love how you refer to your grandchildren as grandgirls and grandbaby. Sounds so ‘qute’ 🙂 Makes them sound extra special too more than granddaughters/grandson.


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