High School Football: Heart or Hype?

Oct 29 2010 - 7:21pm

The football sails into the end zone; the pass is complete. TOUCHDOWN!

The crowd goes wild and triumphant cheers blast through the stadium. The winning team hoists their star quarterback into the air and carries him across the field in victory. That's the football frenzy -- the greatest game in town!

How would I know? I've never attended a football game. It's true, there are no football games at my school. I attend a small school that doesn't have a football team, but I've always wondered about the high school football hype. Does everyone love it or does anyone think differently? Does anyone think annoying? Barbaric? Overrated?

When I think "high school football," the first thing that pops into my mind is its glorified portrayal in the media. I get swept up in the fantasies of movies like "The Blind Side." Everywhere I look, I pick up on football references. For instance, in the critically acclaimed TV show "Glee," Finn Hudson is the star quarterback and dates Quinn, a popular Cheerio. In the music video for Taylor Swift's popular hit "You Belong With Me," her boy-next-door love interest happens to be a football star dating a cheerleader.

Football is often portrayed as the heart of the high school experience. But is this reality?

"Yeah, I would say (football is important) because everyone gets really excited about it. I guess football has a little more glory than other sports," says Austin Olson, a sophomore from Fremont High.

Dusten Barnhart, a Clearfield High sophomore, thinks football is definitely the heart of the high school experience because, "it brings up a lot of school spirit through competition."

But Meg Baker, a senior at St. Joseph's High School, has a different opinion.

"We don't have a football team and our homecoming celebrates basketball, but I do feel like I miss out on the football hype," Baker says.

Patricia Johnson agrees, saying, "Football is not the heart of high school, but it's a big part." The Fremont senior adds, "You miss out on a lot of fun if you don't go to the games, but it's not everything."

Keenan White says, "No, football isn't the major part of high school; I think more people are worried about grades."

White, a Fremont senior, adds, "Certain players get all the glory, but not the whole team."

At Bear River High, senior Kati Hawkins says, "To football players and coaches, football is a big deal. To everyone else, it's no big deal. But, it does give a sense of school pride when we win games."

From an outsider's perspective, football is awfully popular in the media and seems to be the sports highlight of the season at most high schools. The media portrays football as larger than life, with huge coverage in the sports section of the paper and on TV. The giant players covered in massive jerseys and colossal helmets seem daunting, but captivating at the same time.

With all this football chatter, I definitely feel cheated not having a football team to call my own. I guess I can't say if I think it's overrated or thrilling until I actually go to a football game and experience it for myself. I better hurry before the season is over!

Whether football is the heart of the high school experience or not, I've learned that it is a fun way to get involved and show school spirit. At the very least, it gives you an excuse to hang out with friends on a school night! Who wouldn't want that?

Michelle Howe is a senior at St. Joseph Catholic High School. She enjoys soccer, cross country, hurdles and all kinds of music. E-mail her at michellehowe1@comcast.net.

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