Last week I wrote about how student-athletes are putting in work year-round for just a few short months of actual play. I wrote about how important that offseason work was for building team chemistry, getting bigger, stronger and faster and bonding as one unit.

I also wrote that’s when teams are made; success on Friday nights is determined by the work that’s put in throughout the year.

But now I’m calling you, our readers, to action.

There are high school sports teams that are not going to be successful. No matter how much work they put in or how many times they go over the fundamentals or how much they want it, the players just aren’t as talented or the teams they’re facing are just a little bit better.

Sometimes it’s just an off year or a season of rebuilding. Keep in mind only seven AHSAA teams in the state of Alabama win a state championship every football season. The odds are much more likely your favorite team won’t win.

But that doesn’t mean those teams don’t deserve your support.

As a sports editor, I spend a lot of time building up to football season. I was out there when Terrell Owens stopped by on the second day of Benjamin Russell’s spring practice. I was out there when Reeltown and Horseshoe Bend hosted intersquad scrimmages to finish the spring.

I spent time on the sidelines as Dadeville did its football workouts every Wednesday this summer and went to camps alongside our teams when BRHS traveled to Auburn University for a 7-on-7 and Reeltown hosted Tallassee and Montgomery Academy in an end-of-summer OTA.

With fall practice officially beginning Monday, I’ve already been out to Edgewood Academy this week as AISA teams were allowed to begin two days earlier than AHSAA teams. Edgewood was hosting two-a-days for those first two days and despite the blistering heat, the Wildcats were getting after it.

And on the volleyball court, I went to a play date where both Benjamin Russell and Horseshoe Bend competed to see where the biggest improvements still need to be made before the season begins.

I’ve seen firsthand just how much our local student-athletes do during the summer, and it’s important we take note and give them our support. Teams are hosting fundraisers coming up. Benjamin Russell’s 12th Man Dinner will be soon and Reeltown’s biggest fundraiser, Cow Patty Bingo, is in just a couple weeks.

Both of those events are a good way to support our local teams, and I’m certain other schools in our area are looking for contributions as well.

Even if you can’t afford to make a big donation, something small is always helpful. Athletics are expensive. There are costs people don’t even think about — jerseys, helmets, referees, pregame meals, scoreboard officials, PA announcers, travel costs. The list goes on and on. Every little bit makes a difference.

But it’s more than just about financial contributions. What football teams — and every other high school team — want to see is people in the stands. Especially when they’re at home, the players want to see their communities come out, support them and cheer them out.

A football game is a great way to spend a Friday night. It’s a safe environment and open to families, and it’s a community event everyone should get behind.

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.