IHSAA Football Week 2

Tonight I had an incredible dinner: two big pieces of cheese pizza at Bates Field.

I’m joking, despite the fact it was pretty good pizza.

For Week 2 of the IHSAA football season I attended the Waterloo West-City High game with the fam, Saucy, and Saucy’s little bro, Mini Saucy. It was the ribbon cutting for the shiny, and noisy, new bleachers on the home side of the field, which literally took three months to build. (A week ago, the original contractor went bankrupt, leaving a huge hole unfinished on the south side of the stands. A general contractor finished the work earlier this week.) That’s almost as long as it has taken to resurface the asphalt on Dodge Street.

My sister is one of the freshmen volleyball coaches at CHS this fall, and she volunteered me to hold the huge version of Old Glory on the field for the Star Spangled Banner. I did it begrudgingly. Though I did get to stand on the field during a game night, I’m not one to take part in overt displays of nationalism. Plus, I already represented my class during graduation, so I filled my CHS alumni quota for this year. It was really no big deal, though.

One thing that surprised me was the prominent display of red, white, and blue in the student section. A group of students held a flag over their heads and bounced as the national anthem played, and a few other students waved those shitty, plastic lawn versions of Old Glory. As we on the field were about to unroll the big flag, the students started chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” I was shocked. What the fuck happened since I graduated? Was this just high school hijinx, playing off the almost sickening displays of patriotism since 9/11, or have the young people in this country become indoctrinated jingoists? Or perhaps it’s because of the red and white, City High colors. Back when I was in high school, no one gave a fuck when the anthem was played, or would have been caught dead waving the flag.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same…

The game was a blowout. City High was up 27-0 at the end of the first quarter, and the clock started running continuously after halftime when the score was 48-7. The Little Hawks are fast and big. They can pass and run, and their defense attacks the ball. Although head coach Dan Sabers said this team lacks game experience, he said it has as much talent as last year’s state championship team. I believe him after what I saw tonight, though the inexperience was not on display. The Little Hawks could not be stopped, especially when they ran. Their starting QB busted a sixtysome yard run to the end zone when was I walking back to the home stands after buying my dinner on the visiting side. I heard the cheers and saw the last 10 yards of the run.

The tail end of big plays was what I usually saw while attending games in high school. I heard the roar of the crowd, then looked to see what was happening. Though I went to all but one or two home games while a CHS student, I remember maybe one or two plays. High school football games were more a social event than sporting event for my friends and I. We were constantly distracted, spending more time “congregating” and talking than watching the game. We often walked around the stadium just to see who we could find. We scoped out the chicks from the visiting team and talked to friends in the band while they gathered on the track before halftime. When we were seniors, Bobblehead and I bumped into the younger brother of the newspaper’s photo editor on the old home side hill. He was stoned out of his mind and couldn’t stop talking about the principal’s big ass.

Good times.

City High games, though, are not as aromatic as they were back then. To alleviate the awful erosion on the home side hill, they installed a huge retaining wall and cut down the massive sycamore trees there. I love the smell of sycamore leaves, and their scent was the fragrance of City High games throughout my high school career. In that sense — literally — CHS games will never be the same to me. They’re still cool, though.


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