A Dad’s Rant on High School Football #3 -Back in the Bleachers

I’ve seldom sat in the bleachers at both of my boy’s high school football games. I’ve always had my AIA field pass for work and have gotten used to watch a game up close so I can see things that may not be visible from the stands. With our first son, back in the late 2000’s, I would sit with my wife for a bit but usually heard parent’s complaining about their kid not playing or how stupid the coach was compared to the dude who was coaching pee wee football on Saturday mornings. By the time it got to be my son’s senior year, I would just start out on the sidelines. I couldn’t handle the nonsense coming out of grown ups who didn’t realize they were sounding like kids in the sandbox. Forget about the team playing well, if their kid wasn’t on the field then the head coach needs to “pull your head out of your ass”.

The stands haven’t changed much in ten years. I’ve discovered that lots of people attend games to be on their phones. Phone conversations are constantly going on around me in the bleachers. Adults talking about their day while the game is going on just doesn’t quite work for me. What am I to do?

Yes, I’ve come across the excitable dads at freshman football games. Usually excitable dad turns into expectant dad for sophomore and junior seasons (expecting a scholarship), and then by senior year he is simply bitter dad if the scholarship doesn’t come through. I’ve found that sometimes bitter dad felt like his son would’ve gone to a bigger college. Never mind that his kid is continuing to play the game that he loves (or loved) and that some or all of his schooling is being paid for. Arizona Christian and Ottawa University are great options for kids to stay in state and continue to play the game that they love. Both programs are solid.

One thought as we’re approaching the halfway mark of the high school football regular season. It’s the time of year when teams suddenly see a whole new wave of talent hit the field. All of the transfers from last January are becoming eligible in the next week. It’s like the AIA has become the NCAA Clearinghouse. Thing is, many times transfer players don’t crush it or the chemistry of a team is thrown off-balance because kids see the player who has been on the field for the first five weeks suddenly tossed to the side or marginalized for a player who hasn’t put in the same amount of work. I’m not saying transfers shouldn’t happen, I’m saying it doesn’t always work out for in the best interests of the team or the player. 

Lastly, back being a high school football dad means I have to hear about accusations of recruiting, crazy parents going on message boards and social media to rip other players/coaches. I saw a post from a player over the weekend that read something like, “our team lost, but look at the great plays I made here on my HUDL” (C’MON be better than that) and dad’s screaming at coaches during the game to “pull your head out of your ass”.  Most of the same stuff I was hearing ten years ago as a first time high school football dad.