I have plans tonight, so if you need me, you’ll have to come to the game.
See, the football season kicks off tonight for my high school alma mater, the Canton-Galva Eagles.
My younger brother, Troy, is a senior this year, and he will be squaring off on the gridiron for his last season this year. Sure, he may get to go on to college and continue playing ball at that level, but it is unlikely.
Not because he isn’t good enough, but because obviously not every high school athlete gets to play at the collegiate level. In fact, the number who make it is low in respect to the number who play during high school.
I once played high school football, too, but I knew better than to aspire to playing for a college or university.
Granted, I do consider myself to be a part of the Wichita State football team, but that is a different topic entirely.
No, I knew I wouldn’t make it past high school in the athletic world. After the shoulder dislocations, broken hands, and shoulder rebuilding surgeries, I knew my body, though a supreme example of the human form, could not take much more abuse.
However, I still have a lot of fond memories from my times playing the game.
I loved getting so hot I couldn’t tell if I had my own or my opponents’ sweat in my eyes, and I especially appreciated the screaming and spittle in my face every time I missed a block.
And don’t forget the sights seen. Every entrance into the locker room brought the fear of seeing something no normal person would ever wish to witness.
Yes, those were the days.
Joking aside, I really did enjoy them game, especially the feeling right before kick-off during the pre-game warm-up. I can still remember the smell of the fresh cut grass, the sound of the announcers crackling over the loudspeakers, and the pulsing of fans from both sides getting pumped for the ensuing game.
Practice was never fun. In fact, it was usually downright awful.
The temperature was always too much to comprehend, and the watering trough serving cool, liquid refreshment seemed to constantly be so busy that I couldn’t get enough to drink.
And we ran.
I am not a big fan of running. In truth, I hate it. I was a lineman, which means I wasn’t built for running.
Even so, I miss my time as an Eagle football member. Sure, sometimes we weren’t the most successful team in the world, but we generally had fun.
Besides, only as an Eagle would I have gotten to see my coach take of his shirt and run around our huddle topless after a very dramatic and emotional win.
So tonight, if you need me, you can find me in the stands cheering on my home-town Eagles. I hope they win the season opener, but if not, I will still continue to hoot and holler for them because you simply cannot be a fair weather fan when it comes to high school sports.
To the Eagles, I wish you all luck, and to all other teams in the area, good luck to you too. However, if you play Canton-Galva, I’ll have to cheer for them.