SPORTS ADDICT: Football Friday is set to begin
SPORTS ADDICT: Football Friday is set to begin
With high school football quickly approaching, it’s only natural to begin getting those pre-season Football Friday highs before the summer sweat has faded away into the shades of fall.
Along with the pre-season pigskin party come the eagerness and excitement of sports journalists and photographers across the nation as we gear up, once again, for one of the most exciting times of every season’s sports coverage.
This terrific tale of stories yet to be told will be uncovered under Friday’s nights lights, and for those of us who have grown up in the South our entire lives (especially in Texas), high school football ranks right up there behind family and religion when it comes to priorities.
And for sports journalists out there that love living for the moments while watching with a prepared pen and a motivated mindset, there’s not much that compares to the passion and ‘band of brothers’ bonding that occurs in high school football.
For the past four years, I have been covering high school football in some form or fashion n from free-lancing for the Waco Tribune Herald covering local high school football teams, to covering the outskirts of Dallas/Fort Worth’s legendary teams while working for the Denton Record Chronicle, to covering a state-championship team in the Demopolis Tigers while Sports Editor for the Demopolis Times in West Alabama, to screaming and yelling for the Alpine Bucks during my last year in West Texas while working for the Alpine Avalanche, and now moving into my current job in Plano where I will be covering teams with a history of talent and success.
For me personally, I can’t wait to hit those sidelines to begin covering these high school kids that entertain us, the fans, every Friday night for a season that seems to always squeak by way too fast.
Prior to covering the likes of high school football beginning in Waco, I worked for the Baylor Lariat with a focus on sports feature stories.
While working with fellow Baylor Bears, I was able to interview many of the great pitchers that came through the Bears’ prestigious baseball doors under Head Coach Steve Smith.
During my Baylor time, 1997-2001, I was also able to sit down and interview some BU coaches that have made ESPN news n both in bad ways and good.
In 1997, I interviewed Brian Skinner after a Bears victory in which I spent some time with the current NBA player talking about life, love and basketball in Waco’s green room.
For me, that was my first connection with Baylor athletics as my passion for BU sports would only grow over the next four years as a student and fan.
In 1998, I wrote a column about a man now hated by many in the sports world, then new BU head basketball coach Dave Bliss.
In interviews with Coach Bliss, both on the telephone and face-to-face, he had me fooled.
And obviously, I wasn’t the only one fooled by his antics.
For those who weren’t paying attention a few years ago, Bliss was one of the key leaders held responsible for the demise of the Baylor basketball program.
The Bears hoops team, now under the helm of head coach Scott Drew, a wonderful leader and coach with a passion for God and sports, is moving in the right direction after the NCAA enforced many unfair sanctions against the Bears and the current coaching staff.
However, I digress: back to the basics of what we are discussing here n the love and passion of sports coverage in journalism which began for me as early as 1993.
In 2000, during my junior year at BU, I interview new women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson.
Little did I know that Baylor’s Coach K (coach Kim) would lead the Bears to our first national title as the Lady Bears took home the 2005 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.
Before Baylor, I attended Memorial High School in Houston where I worked for the high school newspaper beginning in 1994 after having been involved with the yearbook staff in 1993.
During my four years at Memorial, I enjoyed the countless hours spent with coaches and players as my Mustangs fought year-in and year-out to reach postseason play.
And during my senior year, in 1997, we finally did just that… and we even survived a round one victory in which our kicker became a hero after nailing the game-winning field goal after two prior misses.
Although the Mustangs lost in round two, the table had been set for future Memorial High School football teams, it’s a memory that will stay with me forever as I still remember to this day watching as grown men in football uniforms unhooked their helmets and knelt on one knee with tears streaming down their faces.
And now, back to the Plano present where I will be covering our local high school players as the start of school, and thus the start of a new season, quickly and quietly approach.
For me, there’s not much out there that compares to high school football coverage. There’s not much better out there when it comes to sports in general.
Because, you see, high school sports still have an understanding for what these games are all about: it’s all about the love…
Until next week, I’ll see y’all around town…