Almost as if on cue, the weather turned cooler last week. We all know it won’t last as we aren’t even in September yet, but for a few days anyway, it has been enjoyable weather-wise to be outside.
As I ventured home late last Thursday afternoon, the field at W. Clair Harris Stadium was being painted for the following evening’s scrimmage between Winder-Barrow High School and South Forsyth High School.
“It’s here,” I said to myself as the sports talk hosts coming through my radio talked about the Falcon preseason game later that evening.
Football is an important part of life for many. It’s something die-hards look forward to 12 months a year. When did the die-hard begin thinking about the 2013 high school season? Probably as soon as the last snap was taken during the 2012 campaign.
Football on Friday nights was a staple of life for me growing up. It was something I counted down to, similar to Christmas and birthdays. Things just weren’t the same until fall arrived and high school football was in full gear.
It’s that way across the state I’ve found from making a living covering the gridiron sport. Players, coaches, fans, parents and alumni take comfort in being inside the local stadium on Friday nights. For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who don’t get it, no explanation could do it justice. If you are a high school football fan, you understand.
Success on the football field often brings towns in small town America closer together. Any differences we may have politically, or personally, are left at the pay window.
How will our local teams do this fall? WBHS and Apalachee compete in the always tough Region 8-AAAAA. The AHS Wildcats are expected to challenge for a playoff spot this fall. It won’t be easy, but then few things are worth having.
WBHS has been in a downward cycle for numerous years. It’s not because of one team or one coach or one group of coaches. This type of thing happens in big-time high school football. Often, however, all it takes is a few wins to rebuild the confidence within the program. Rebuilding a high school program goes well beyond those on the field during a season or those standing on the sidelines on a Friday night. It would take a book to truly explain all the inner workings of a successful program. Can WBHS make progress this season? Sure, but progress can also be judged in different ways.
Over at Bethlehem Christian Academy, the excitement for the still relatively new program continues. A new stadium is in the works. The program is seeing its numbers increase and players speak frankly of having a goal of making the postseason.
Yes, it’s football season again. We’ve talked about it for months, but the first games are just around the corner. The BCA Knights play a game that counts this Friday, in fact.
Personally, it’s nice to see this old friend named football back again.
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. Send comments about this column to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.