Frank Workman on Sports: The Big Game

Thursday, September 25, 2014

By Frank Workman

In the moments leading up to the 7pm kickoff Friday night in the Rotary Cup Game between Shorecrest and Shorewood, a perfect confluence of energy, enthusiasm, and emotion will merge to create an electricity that all those in attendance will never forget.

The biggest annual gathering in Shoreline will be comprised of a cross-section of humanity from the immediate area.

Students from each school will try their best to out-do each other, both in school-colored garb (with face paint to match) and hoarse throats.

Band members from each school will be ready to blast their teams’ fight songs at full blast, equating volume with quality.

Parents of the players will watch intently, their emotions mixed. Many would grudgingly, if not gladly, trade in a victory for their team for assurance that their own son emerge uninjured from the fray.

Some moms and dads will be bringing their grade school kids to their first high school football game, and they’ll marvel at the wide-eyes and broad smiles on their kids’ faces as they take in the whole grand spectacle. Those same moms and dads will take a minute and recall when they were back in school, and they’ll remember a long forgotten memory of Friday nights in their youthful days.

Seemingly ever single junior high student in the district will be in attendance, as if an extra-credit reward was being offered by their teachers. Oddly, none of them will even sit down for a minute, and hardly any of them will even face the field, much less watch the game. But they will observe how their elders (the HS students) dress and behave.

Down on the field, the players will have churning stomachs and dry mouths – hopeful and fearful at the same time. Hopeful of a win, and perhaps to wear the mantle of ‘hero’ at night’s end; fearful of defeat and being remembered (if only by himself) for the rest of his life for costing his team the victory.

And then eleven boys from each team will take the field - one team to kick off, the other to receive. The referee will blow his whistle.

One player will approach the ball in his run-up to kicking it away.

And the biggest crowd of the year will rise to their feet, the fans will feel a charge go through their bodies, and electricity will be in the air.

After that, it’s anybody’s ballgame.


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