I am going to enjoy life after 50 if it kills me!

High school football is an American tradition.  Entire towns revolve around their high school’s football teams, who become local heroes.

However, I’ve never been much of a high school football fan.  I grew up in a pro football household, and my parents were diehard Buffalo Bills fans.  So we watched pro ball every Sunday.  On the other hand, I went to a grand total of one high school football game, and my college didn’t even have a football team.

Last night was different, though.  My children’s alma mater, Manatee High School, in Bradenton, Florida, played their rival Tampa-Plant at home.  But this time around, ESPN televised the game.  ESPN!!

My daughter up in New York watched the game on the restaurant TV where she was hostessing.  She told everyone she seated that it was HER high school on ESPN.  And after work, she watched the rest of the game at her place.  Being 1300 miles from home, it was a great way for her to feel connected.  On facebook, two of my friend’s kids – one in Alaska and one in Louisiana – both posted that they had watched.  It was amazing to see the excitement in posts from those still living locally and those thousands of miles away.

It is an interesting cultural phenomenon that high school football can unite communities, even for those who have moved away and become members of other communities in other states far away.  It’s far beyond the game itself.  Whether it’s the “us” against the world mindset, or the sense of identity with a group of people, or something entirely different, there’s no denying it.

By the way, the Manatee Hurricanes trounced Tampa-Plant 48 – 10.  Go, Canes, Go!!

*photo courtesy of Tampabay.com  More on the game at http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20100828/COLUMNIST/8281056/2055/NEWS?Title=Manatee-High-s-big-victory-in-the-big-time

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