Observations at a High School Football Game

As part of my job description as an Instructional Technology Coordinator, falls the ever-dreaded “Other duties as assigned.” As part of my other duties for last night, I had to help with crowd control at the football game. I don’t really mind, especially since this was a high-profile game with attendance over 5,900 fans, and it is always fun to don the radio and confiscate silly-string and giant inflatable balls from students. As a side note, I did intend on giving the giant ball back, but the kids never came back for them, so my son ended up with a new toy.

The reason that I feel compelled to write this post is because of what happened in the last 13.5 seconds of the game. As a little background, my school was slated to lose the game against the guest team, and it was a matchup that had not occurred, despite the close proximity of the two high schools, in about 10 years (hence the attendance numbers). The game was back-and-forth for all of the 4th quarter and most of the 3rd. With 35 seconds to spare, we scored a touchdown to make it 33-34 them, and we went for, and made, the two-point conversion to put us up 35-34.

On the kick return, one of our players was hit hard (a clean hit, but insanely hard). As I was mostly focused on the student section (given the action of the game in the 10 minutes or so prior, they were amped, and administration was prepared for things to get crazy), I didn’t see the hit, but from what I’ve been told he was “unconscious before he hit the ground.” In traditional fashion, the crowd quieted down (slowly for the student section, but they got there), and everyone held their hands out to the field, fingers crossed.

For reasons unknown, the ambulance took a lot longer than would be considered normal to get there. After about 10 minutes, the student section began to get restless. Not excessively so, but certainly not what I would call respectful to the injured player. After about 15 minutes, the football team and the adult members of the crowd began to chatter with each other, and no one held their fingers aloft and crossed.

There was one group though that held their fingers aloft and crossed, showing extraordinary respect for the person lying on the field, for the full 42 minutes that play was stopped. This will come as little surprise to many, but that one amazing group is the band. There is an undeniable fact in almost every school (certainly every school that I’ve been at), that there is a level of respect, discipline, and maturity within a band student that just isn’t present in the rest of the student body as a whole.

Now, I don’t mean to say that only band kids are respectful and mature. I simply believe that students in the band, especially in the marching band, learn life skills that many other students do not. As you might imagine, I was a band kid myself, so I may be a little biased, but I don’t feel that many will disagree with me.

So, I just want to say thank you to Mr. Boyd, Mr. Krahn, and Mr. Cooper, and to any band directors out there. You are appreciated, your work doesn’t go unrecognized. You not only make the school a better place, but you also change the lives of these children, make them better people. No test will ever measure your contribution effectively, but your impact is immeasurable for those students.