How a High School Football Game Almost Brought Me to Tears

A bittersweet view from the bleachers.

Susan Poole

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

High school football holds a special place in the hearts of many parents and communities. The Friday night lights. The camaraderie of the crowd. The thrill of what’s undoubtedly more than just a game.

I live close enough to our high school stadium to keep tabs on what’s happening during home games. I can sit on my patio and listen to the marching band playing the fight song, and I eagerly await the sound of the bullhorn that signals a home team touchdown. Although it’s been four years since my youngest graduated from high school, I still get a kick out of the joy that resonates from the stands, filling the air of our close-knit town.

For years, I never missed a game. Never mind that none of my children played high school football. It’s just what we did on Friday nights when they were in school.

Donned in maroon and gold (the school colors), we trailed through the parking lot with other dedicated fans to share in the festivities, to be part of what our kids were experiencing from the stands. School spirit. Community connection. A chance to support our team in victory or defeat.

It’s strange how something that played such a significant part in my life became nothing but a memory. Abruptly. After my youngest went away to college, I lost interest in going to the games. Friday nights took on new meaning. Dinner with friends, movie theaters or Netflix, and an occasional road trip fill the void once packed with tailgate parties, concession stand snacks, and post-game celebrations.

I miss it in some ways.

But I understand that it ran its course.

That didn’t stop me from accepting an invitation to attend the first home game of the season with my brother last weekend. His stepson plays in the band for a rival team, so we sat on the visitors’ side, giving me an entirely different perspective—in more ways than one.

Not only did I find myself watching the game from the opposite side of the field, but the nostalgia hit me hard. My eyes rested on all that remained unchanged:

  • A sea of maroon and gold.
  • Spectators standing for…

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Susan Poole

Mother, lawyer, nonprofit executive, breast cancer survivor, and aspiring author. Recently left her day-job to write about topics that she’s passionate about.