Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Friday Night Lights"

It was fun to go to the football game last night, first high school football game we've been to this year. (Even though we left at half-time, because Spotswood was winning 40-0...they eventually won 47-13.)

It wasn't as cold as they had called for after all, on the way home I saw a bank sign that said '55', although it did intermittantly get windy, so I was glad to be wearing a winter coat.

As we sat at the game, I started wondering how many football games I've ever been to in my life. (must be the upcoming birthday that's sending me down memory lane,LOL :)

I'll be 47 on Oct. 18, and I started going to football games when I was about 13. That's 34 years of being a football fan, which makes it somewhat astonishing that I still have such a lack of knowledge about the game itself, ha ha.

I've said it before in past blog posts (like a year ago, on a different blog) but I was uniquely privileged while growing up to have as my best friend the daughter of one of the sportswriters for the Kalamazoo Gazette, while growing up in good old Parchment, MI.

Dick Kishpaugh, who passed away in a car accident a number of years ago, always took his daughter Carol and I along to the sports events he covered, if we wanted to go.

Thus, when I think of the seasons? 'Fall' always means 'football' to me, 'winter' always means 'basketball', spring always means 'soccer' (which is actually more because all my children played soccer when they were younger, and even though they played fall and spring? I always like spring soccer was Warmer then:) and summer always means 'baseball/softball'.

It was only as I grew older, that I realized how much the opportunity of going to all those games with Mr. Kishpaugh added to my life.

Last night, for the first time, it Really felt like 'fall' to me, finally going to the football game.  I suppose because going back all those years, that was what we Did every fall. We went to JV games on Tues nights, and Varsity games on Friday nights.

Years and years of going to football games, there's just something about the crisp fall nights and the bright lights on the playing field and the roar of the crowd that's in my blood now, I guess.  My mind went back to a JV football game 100 years ago, probably I was about 13 or 14, and one of our players got a broken leg.  I can't remember his name? but Kalamazoo had two major hospitals, Bronson and Borgess. Borgess was the'Catholic' hospital, and Bronson was the 'Methodist' hospital.

So, while they were taking him off the field? the player said "Is there a Methodist hospital in the area?" Joking thru the pain, and even though his name is lost in the mists of time to me, I can still recall his wisecrack :) 

They had the Rockingham Rec League players there for the game last night, and watching all the very young boys out there on the field before the game? My mind went back over all the times I attended the cousin's games when they were younger, here in Virginia, and I went to their Sat afternoon games.....and then years later, going to games when my oldest son, Ben, played, and a few years later going to Dustin's games, he started playing when he was 8, I think.....and then all the games all the way up through Dustin's high school career, first at Spotswood and then at Page county.

And the college football games I've been to...going all the way back to attending some Western Michigan University games, and then attending JMU football games with my boys when they were younger.

I had forgotten about attending WMU games before I moved away from Michigan, until last night. Carol and I must have been about 15, and we went with the leaders of a Girl Scout troop where we assisted, for mentally retarded girls at a special center. The leaders were attending WMU, and I recall thinking how exotic and avant-garde they seemed to us little high schoolers, lol, as they were sharing a big house where boys and girls lived In the Same House together! Pretty racy, back in the 70's :) We thought they were the ultimate in 'cool'.

Like I said, maybe it's the upcoming birthday, or the fact that the big 5-0 is getting closer every year? but it was a revelation to me last night, while I sat cheering the team and marveling at the swiftness of one of the players, just a joy to watch him carrying the football down the field, at how much a part of my life football has been for so long.

And it all goes back all those years to Mr. Kishpaugh, and him taking two goofy girls along to every game he covered.

God rest his soul....and thanks, Mr. Kishpaugh, for giving me the love of a game that has ended up being such a major part of my life for so many years. I still might not know all the names of the positions,lol, or still might have an astonishing lack of knowledge of the basics (last night, I asked Tony 'what's offside again?")but I realized last night that there's very few years of my life where football and attending football games Wasn't a part of it.

So now, even though the paper said today that we are going to have 'dull' leaves this year, due to the drought conditions this past summer.....yes, it Finally really feels like Fall to me. Because I was sitting in the stands at a football game last night, as I've done for 34 years :)



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