Archived Story

Looking forward to football nights

Published 4:39pm Friday, August 30, 2013

There is a lot more fast food and driving in my future. There will be late night pots of coffee, the occasional wrong turn and the welcome aura of light in the distance that lets me know I am nearing my destination.
It’s time for another season on the sidelines, watching our local teams battle it out for gridiron glory.
Football nights in the newsroom are one my favorite parts about this job.
They can be a little chaotic, however. Deadlines are part of my daily job, but on football night, they are non-negotiable. There exists a small window of time to get back to the newsroom (or to the closest McDonalds for free WiFi), write up the stories, get it printed and onto our carriers’ vehicles with enough time to make it on your doorstep the next morning.
It’s like putting out a newspaper on fast forward. And it can make even a seasoned journalist break a sweat.
You wonder whether all the stories will come through and hope that any phone calls you need to make are returned within the night. Even things that usually are quite predictable – like the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Scores from Around the State – can get delayed, leaving us staring at empty space on a page, scrambling to confirm scores in any other way possible.
But before any of this happens, there is the best part of the night – actually being paid to watch a sport you enjoy.
High school athletes are a joy to watch. All too often, I sense a lackadaisical approach to games from professional athletes. When it really comes down to it, they get millions of dollars whether they make that extra bit of hustle for a few more yards or not. And many are locked into long contracts, a sense of job security that can lead to tepid on-field performances.
But high school players have four years. They play for one thing – glory. For their school. For their town. For their coaches. And for themselves.
You get to see pure acts of athleticism, born out of a love for the game. You see kids play above their ability, with heart and sheer effort.
I have seen amazing comebacks and heartbreaking last minute losses. I have seen plenty of coolers dumped on coaches and experienced the parade of fans onto the field after the squad secures playoff berth.
I am itching for another year of football. In fact, I was a little jealous of Ed Bailey once I learned he would be heading to the Dadeville versus Reeltown showdown last night.
I want to wish all of our local teams the best of luck for this season. I’ll be right there on the sidelines, capturing every second of the action.
And to all the seniors, treasure every minute you are on the field. These are times you will remember for the rest of your life. Make them worth it.
Nelson is news editor for The Outlook.

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