Glazed Donut Hole

Coming home

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

This time of year we run into the annual returning home of alumni for a parade and football games. The tradition of Homecoming is something that is supposed to bring a community together to celebrate it’s school, the athletes and popular students in rituals that are supposed to create “Spirit” and school pride. But do Homecomings actually do that any more?

When you bring up the word “Homecoming” to pretty much anyone on the school staff roster, they will most likely groan and get that wide-eyed look in their eyes that shows you that they are not thrilled with the prospect of having to spend a week dealing with students dressed in all sorts of wild outfits, students not paying attention to class because they are worried about who to vote for for King or Queen, students asking continually for time away from studying to work on their float or a whole host of other excuses to not do any work and just play the entire week away.

Around town the sentiment is pretty much the same. Businesses don’t really have time or the desire to put together a float for the parade. The owners are worried about all of the extra running around that students and fresh alumni are doing after hours. Parents are also worried about any drinking that may accompany those activities too.

The activities of Homecoming have changed and evolved over the years. Kings and Queens are still elected. Letters are still burned. (Although there has been some debate as to whether it is proper to burn your own school letters or the letters of the team your football team is facing.) Cars are bashed. Parades are still held. Candy is still thrown to the crowd. Pep rallies are still held. Speeches are still made. Dress up days are getting more creative each year, but they still end with “Spirit Day” where you wear your school’s colors, no matter what fashion you can find.

But there are some activities that have gone by the wayside. I remember vaguely in junior high doing the snake dance through town following the burning of the letters. That was usually followed by an impromptu pep rally on Main Street and then some “unofficial” freshmen initiation ceremony. Official initiation ceremonies seem to have gone by the wayside too. Now they are replaced by school Olympics or other activities that aren’t quite as degrading to one class of students. Fish flops by freshmen are still a requirement however.

Homecomings are supposed to be times where high school alumni were to come home to celebrate their history and promote the future of their “Home town”. But how many people actually take the time to make that once a year special trip back home for Homecoming weekend? Not many. Sure college freshmen and sophomores may make serious efforts to get there, but after that, other obligations seem to take over and it’s just not that important any longer. When did this tradition change? When did we trade in our home towns for better things to do? Now people wait until a more special time to return “home” like a class reunion or an all school reunion. Those are usually held in the summer and people can make arrangements to be there rather than during September or October.

What do you remember about Homecoming and how has it changed over the years in your eyes?

Posted in Football | 5 Comments »

Glazed Donut Hole

The end of football?

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

An interesting discussion was held last week about the future of football as we currently know it. The question was posed whether high school football would even exist in 20 or 30 years.

Think about how quickly football has evolved over the past 60 years. It has gone from leather helmets to helmets with wireless speakers so players can hear plays called directly from a coach. It has changed from pretty much letting any type of hit or tackle take place to so many rules and regulations that it’s almost impossible to have a legal tackle any more. It’s gone from players gutting it out in all types of weather with simply their uniform to players having more layers on them than a polar bear does of fat.

Football seeminly has taken over as “America’s game” from baseball. More people identify with a NFL team than they do a MLB team. I bet most people could name the starting QB of most pro football teams than the best starting pitcher on practically any baseball team. Football games bring in more revenue than all other sports. Their television viewership is more than all other sports. Look at the most-watched television show ever. It used to be the finale of M*A*S*H, but the last Super Bowl took care of that record.

Getting back to high school football, there seems to be a problem with teams lately having enough players to even field a team. This is especially true in small towns, but some of the larger communities are seeing a trend where there just aren’t the same amount of players going out for football. The potential of the “Pay to Play” system will hurt teams even further.

Think about this scenario for a second: A player has to pay, say $300, to play high school football. As a freshmen or sophomore, he knows  that he didn’t really get to play all that much when he was in junior high, so in essence he pretty much knows that he won’t get much playing time in high school. So he makes the decision to not play football during high school and save $300 for his family that year. There is one player who normally would have been a part of the team, even if he was just a bench warmer. He would have been part of something that might have ended in a state championship team, but because he realized his talent level or just didn’t feel like he would ever get to see the green grass of the field during a game, he chose not to be part of it at all.

What if that player would have developed his skills in his sophomore or junior year, would have been chosen as an all-state player during his senior year, earned a scholarship to college and went on to a great career in any field simply because he didn’t have to Pay to Play? That sort of changes your thinking then, huh?

In the small town that can barely field a team because there just aren’t enough boys in the school, their situation is even worse. Sure co-oping in sports is becoming more and more commonplace in this and surrounding states, but pretty soon there won’t be anyone to co-op with and you are back to square one. Is it going to come to the point where these schools simply don’t offer football as an extra-curricular activity at all? Some colleges are already moving to that point. I can see the same trend happening in high school too in the near future.

What do you think? Will we see the end of football in the future? Why or why not?

Posted in Football | 4 Comments »