Friday, September 26, 2008

To Play Or Not To Play

There is probably no bigger headache for athletic and school officials then making a decision on playing a high school football game when you have weather like we have this weekend. Football is a game that was designed to be played in all kinds of elements and some would say that as long as safety is not the issue then play the game. I used to share that mentality but have softened over the years because high school football is not just the game but an event comprised and enjoyed but more than just players. You have the band, cheerleaders and other support groups who also look to perform for their fellow students and other spectators and while their participation is not a priority it’s a large part of the pageantry of a Friday Night or Saturday game.

When you think about a school usually only has 4 of 5 home games during a regular season and playing in bad weather with a small crowd can have a very negative impact. Different groups might sell refreshments as well as clothing, programs, 50/50’s and more to raise money. That money might go to help extracurricular programs or even fund scholarships and when you play a game in inclement weather it means less people and less cash.

There is nothing like a good football game between rival schools on a nice fall day or evening to help school spirit. When a few thousands fans pack Detweiller Stadium in Toms River and you hear PA Announcer Dave Correll shout “first down Indians” it’s part of an electric atmosphere. It’s not much different at Southern, Brick, Jackson Memorial and other places throughout the shore.

However when the rain is pouring down and the band can’t play and a few hundred fans are just trying to find a way to stay dry a high school football game is just a game….not an event. And that is something everyone should take into consideration.

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