More than football on Fridays

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2005

High school football season is upon us.

But for a lot of people, Friday nights can be about more than just hard hits and long touchdown plays.

Long before players take the field for warm-up, fans are filtering in to the stands, finding their usual seats and giving their pre-game analysis to whoever will lend an ear.

Even if the home team lost the last game 100-0, fans would come back every Friday night with renewed hope – hope that tonight will be different.

There’s a competitive spirit in the air between fans and especially between parents. Whose son has worked the hardest this week? Whose son led the team in rushing a week earlier? The comparisons are endless. Then, there are the students.

Student sections at high school football games have their own personality.

Each school is different when it comes to their cheers, chants and jeers.

As the game goes along the student section, most of the time, turns into a party of sardines, with every teen wanting to be close to the action – and each other.

But this social event know as a “football game” does not keep itself to the bleachers. It spills over into the concession stands and long lines at the restroom throughout the evening.

It’s a choice between the lesser of two evils for most people – whether to go with the jumbo dog or the nachos (my editor’s personal favorite) with the knowledge that heartburn and indigestion will soon settle in. Then, there’s deciding on the right time for a bathroom break knowing that inevitably your team will score a touchdown while you stand in line.

But what kind of atmosphere would we have without screaming teenage girls and soggy nachos? Football just wouldn’t be the same. The players would still give their all and fans would still cheer at touchdowns and boo at bad calls.

But the heart of Friday night football in Alabama is about more than what goes on between the two sidelines.

It’s in the conversations, one-ups and well … food, that makes these evening at the ballfield so enjoyable.

High school football in our state has just gotten under way, but the rumble and roar of football crowds are already peeking. If you’re not a regular to prep football games, I highly recommend that you change your ways.

If you’re one of those people who have a regular seat in the bleachers, enjoy the 2005 football season, it wouldn’t be the same without you.

Brandon Gresham serves as staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at