Friday Night Lights 2014, Week 6

The old man and I double-dipped this week. After last night’s Prairie-City High game, we headed to the City of Five Seasons tonight to watch Western Dubuque play at Cedar Rapids Xavier.

Why WD-Xavier? My cousin’s son plays on the WD sophomore team, so we arrived early and watched the sophomore game with my cousin and uncle.

I had never been to Xavier, nor the northwest side of Cedar Rapids, so tonight’s trip was an adventure to a new place. We exited I-380 on 42nd Avenue, headed west, passed Kennedy High School (which I had also never seen), and eventually reached the home of the Saints. Xavier’s a school, nothing too special — except for maybe the field of crosses representing aborted children on the front campus. But its late-nineties architecture made me think of Columbine. Not the most cheerful association, but that is what came to mind.

Anyway, a couple interesting notes about Saints Field:

•The bathrooms and concession stand are about 100 yards from the home stands and attached to the school, which I thought was weird. Most high schools have concession stands and bathrooms closer to the stands in detached buildings.

•Speaking of the bathrooms, there were only two urinals in the men’s room. Two! By comparison, Bates Field has four or five just on the home side.

•The concession stand sold Caramel Apple Pops, which I had not seen in years. I bought two.

•The field features an insanely high crown. If one is standing along the sideline, the ground gradually rises four or five feet to the center of the field. The crown would probably rise above the waists of the players standing on the opposite side. If the ball were positioned directly on the crown and the QB handed it off for an outside run, the runner would literally be running down hill. It didn’t seem to faze my cousin’s son, a running back, but it looked very weird.

The Saints’ sophomore team beat the Bobcats, 26–0. The varsity game began soon afterward and it turned into a defensive battle. Xavier is famous for stingy defense, and the Saints were stingy through two quarters tonight. The Bobcats moved the ball but were unable to create a scoring threat. The Saints moved the ball in chunks, but could not score. Their defense did, though. On a promising WD drive, the Bobcats looked to be in a hurry at the line and the handoff to the runner fell to the ground. A Saint scooped it up and housed it. The PAT failed so Xavier led at halftime, 6–0.

That is when we left. Tonight was cold and blustery. I wore my Triclimate, a stocking hat, and gloves, and both my dad and I had blankets. The sign in front of Xavier said the temperature was 49º when we arrived and 46º when we left. That may be shorts weather in January, but in early-October it is freezing. The wind did not help, either. My hands froze; I lost all feeling in my ring fingers and each of my other fingers felt like they were capped by Band-Aids. But I love the cold! I just need to get mittens and dress with more layers.

Speaking of Band-Aids, an odd thing happened when we made our way into the visitor’s stand. When climbing to the back row where my cousin and uncle sat, I accidentally bumped the edge of a bleacher with my shin. It hurt but I did not think anything of it. About ten minutes later I looked down and noticed red spots by my feet. “That’s weird,” I thought. “Someone spilled cherry Kool-Aid here.” Then I saw red spots on my shoe. Then my sock. Then my pants. I pulled up my pant leg and found that my shin was bleeding. What?! I could not believe it. When I returned home, I cleaned off the dried blood and found that a small split had developed.

Damn! Watch out for those bleachers.

On our way home, my uncle called to let us know WD took the lead, 7–6, after a TD pass and PAT. And that became the final score. It was a huge upset and my dad, a lapsed Catholic who grew up Dubuque County, was thoroughly pleased.

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