Monday, December 11, 2006

The Pinnacle of Texas Sports

The top sport in the state of Texas is football. And nothing really riles up the folks in Texas towns like the high school variety. This weekend, I had the opportunity to go to a 5A quarterfinal game. My little sister's school was still playing, so I drove out to meet them and watch them play a tough game against a team that was bigger and faster. More exciting than the game (which was plenty of a nailbiter, and her high school will be playing again next week) was the pageantry that goes with the overall event.

To start, the teams ran through smoke in their inflatable tunnels with animal mascot heads to the sounds of bands playing fight songs, erupting crowds and the announcer reading off the list of all 44 starters (offense and defense for each team). The cheerleaders and mascots for both teams were then introduced individually. Then there was the playing and singing of the respective alma maters, a prayer, and then an announcement of what good sportsmanship really means to the UIL group regarding high school sporting events. The singing of the national anthem came next, followed by the bands playing musical challenges at each other. All of this before the game ever commenced.

I was struck by how many people really come together to make a high school football game happen. At our particular game, between players, managers, drill teams, cheerleaders, bands, and everyone else, there were 1100 kids participating between the two schools. Absolutely incredible.

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