After attending and cheering on two victorious football teams this weekend…our town’s high school team and at Purdue, my kids alma mater…it only seems fitting to reminisce and share once again of the excitement that football brings to many small towns:
When my son played high school football, excitement was in the air when the Friday night lights were turned on at the football field. We heard the high school band ripping out the school song. We saw the cheerleaders jumping and cheering as the team ran out on the field. We felt the stands vibrating as the fans jumped from their seats, clapping, yelling and cheering the team on to victory.
These games were more memorable to us than watching a professional game. This is where we went to watch our sons in our small town play because it was tradition. This is where we went despite the weather to watch our sons play because they loved the game. This is where we went to watch our sons play because they hoped that they would be collegiate players. Of course, few did, but the majority of these kids graduated from high school and college or found an industrial job.
I had taken over a thousand digital pictures of my son each year. Of all of those pictures this picture is his favorite. It was taken at a sectional championship game that was being hosted at an old rival high school stadium called the “Brickie Bowl” which was going to be replaced by a 21st century stadium. But this old stadium, that he favored, had a blue collar, coliseum type atmosphere and this picture captured the feeling for him. And my son’s team won!
Four scrapbooks were created from the best of these pictures; one scrapbook for every year. Each book has every newspaper article about the game and has pictures that I took of him. The first two years the majority of the pictures were of him standing and watching from the sidelines and the last two years were pictures of him sweaty and dirty while on the field tackling or hitting the opponents.
My son’s books are stored in his closet, and he has pulled them out occasionally to show others. But what is awesome is that one day when his grandchildren are with him celebrating his birthdays, he will be able to show his grandchildren that he was once a young athletic teenager who loved football and loved the competition.
What did you do in high school that you would like your grandchildren to learn about you? Pull out your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of when you were a young person and start with these questions:
- What sport or extracurricular activity were you involved with in high school?
- What leadership positions did you hold while involved in that activity?
- What awards or honors did you earn in this activity?
- In hindsight what would you have changed, if any, about your choice?
- How did your participation help shape you?