Soccer Dad

Thoughts on the dominance of high school football.

I got a little nudge from Patch this morning. It asked “Are you going to the football game tonight?”

I felt a little resentment reading this as both my kids play high school soccer – you know, the other football. When I looked at the schedule, I saw there were also varsity volleyball and field hockey games going on today - yet nobody was encouraging me to attend these events.  

When I read the this week I noticed that there were about three pages of football coverage while most other teams got a single column story or, in the case of boys varsity soccer team that had started their season with a 1-1 tie against the Hamilton-Wenham Generals on the same day as the football game, no mention at all.

Last week on game day, there were a couple of uniformed cheerleaders standing on the steps of the high school welcoming athletes as they arrived. As my guys climbed from the car wearing their game day ties, I asked if the cheerleaders would be cheering them in. I was quickly corrected – they were football cheerleaders. I guess it’s more about “football spirit” than “school spirit”.

For four or five months a year, we are a nation that defines its Sunday Sabbath observance less and less by our religious beliefs and more and more by our belief that our favorite NFL team will rise to the occasion and kick their opponents’ butts. We savor the media flurry leading up to the game until, with beer and chip in hand, we settle into our couches with all the passion of a young postulant. Perhaps it’s this fervor that skews our attention toward the amateur version of the game.

We’ve all read stories of football obsession. Friday Night Lights brought it to the big screen and later to television.  Multimillion dollar high school stadiums abound in some parts and all over the country there’s a certain respect for football as the king of high school sports. There’s no question that there’s a buzz around a Friday night football game, under the lights, with cheerleaders and hamburgers, that just can’t be felt watching a cross-country meet or a field hockey game.

But does the fall cross-country runner work any less hard in training than the football player?  Is the field hockey player any less dedicated to her sport? Does the soccer player benefit any less from the team camaraderie and competition? Don’t all of the scholar-athletes deserve our equal respect?

I’ll admit it. I’m biased. I’m a Soccer Dad. I think my kids are awesome and therefore I want them to get all the respect and adulation I know they deserve. And so I feel bad about soccer being overshadowed by football. I’m sure the Field Hockey Moms and Gymnastics Parents have a similar lament. It’s not that we don’t like football – we just may not have had quite as much of the Kool-Aid.

I’m not going to the football game tonight. But I will be watching the freshmen soccer game this afternoon and I’ll watch the varsity play tomorrow. And the next time I see a field hockey game going on, I just might stop and cheer.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe Veno September 27, 2011 at 01:25 PM
I find it interesting that I do not hear these complaints when another sport is in season, for instance Baseball. Why don't you folks complain about other sports when they are in season and football is not? I am not saying one sport is better than another. I support all sports.
John Intorcio September 27, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Joe - You're right, I've unfairly focused on football. I'll get to work on rants about basketball and baseball and try to have them ready in time to post during the appropriate seasons.
Eileen M. September 27, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Baseball is more over rated in this town than football. The CAL is a joke. Something about big fish in a small pond.
Joe Veno September 27, 2011 at 09:06 PM
John, Thank you for understanding where I am coming from but. I just wish we did not need to publish articles like this. These kids go out there and play their hearts out in all sports not just football and some people are slaming them on the internet. I have coached many kids in this town and believe me, articles like this have a negative affect on the kids and the team.
John Intorcio September 28, 2011 at 12:27 AM
I sure wish we didn't need to publish articles like this too, Joe! It scares me how much we think alike.


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