The love has returned to Friday night lights
I love high school football, especially in the state of Georgia. Bear in mind that it is so much more than just the X’s and O’s. Prep football is all about community, traditions and the commitment to excellence both on and off the field in the purest of forms.
The emotion of a high school football game is ponderous. You can feel the electricity and the passion intertwining with the cool breeze and brisk chill before a clear autumn night that captivate the heart and soul of all involved.
Over 263 schools in the state of Georgia have one goal in mind: Win the Holy Grail, which is the GHSA Football Championship. Every town and every city — big or small — live for the love of Friday night lights. Every conversation at the nearby Waffle House or coffee shop, a favorite watering hole or a favorite barbershop speak in detail about what team will do well this season, and so on and so forth.
But football is more than just any Friday night event; it’s an everyday reality. Without singling anyone out, I will admit that I watched a practice at Alcovy late one evening, studying senior offensive lineman, Keiven Rhodes.
I watched his intensity, and focused on his tenacity for staying on his blocks until the whistle blew. I watched him explode after a teammate did not do what he was supposed to be doing on the field. Although Rhodes he has experienced adversity and hardship throughout his young life, he found redemption on the gridiron. Rhodes found his soul on the 50-yard line while yearning for a victory along with his teammates who have only experienced defeat. And like most of them, Rhodes will do whatever it takes to win this year.
Like so many of us, we tend to forget sometimes that these are student-athletes. These young men are citizens by day and warriors by night. They have made a valid decision to represent their respected school with honor and pride, playing a game they truly love.
But it isn’t just the football team that needs encouragement and support. The cheerleaders and the band need support and affection, too. Unfortunately, sometimes we fail to acknowledge their involvement, albeit off the actual playing field.
When I played the game, I never had the opportunity to watch the band or cheerleaders perform. But now I have tremendous respect for what they do because if it weren’t for them, the Savoy of the magic of Friday night football would not at all be the same.
The romance of the year is now upon us. I love this time of the year, and I cannot wait for the games to begin. This will be a historic season regarding prep football in the city of Covington. Homer Sharp Stadium will be rocking all season long to the tune of schools like Alcovy, Eastside and Newton bringing the very best and brightest the county has to offer.
Make it a point to support your team this year by attending a high school football game. These 700-plus students — including athletes, cheerleaders and band members — have worked long and hard to perform for you this season, and the fervor will not happen without your commitment.
High school football brings everyone together, or tears them apart afterward depending on certain outcomes. But one night at the end of each week is pure….love.
Good luck to the 2007 Alcovy, Eastside, and Newton football programs!