Last week, the High School football matches started for the season. They will be done by Thanksgiving, when the best teams will go forward to the State Play-Offs.
Nothing in my previous life prepared me for the *big deal* that is High School football. Sure I know that schools have football teams, so do UK schools, and they at least play with the right shaped ball. So I was a little bemused by two incidents.
The first was my Mother-in-law asking if we wanted *season tickets* for Okmulgee High .... oh, and a parking lot pass .... yeah sure Judy, why not? We can go along with the other half dozen parents and stand, freezing, on the touchline, while little Johnny, Bubba or whoever run up and down needlessly for an hour. Anyways, it's a family tradition and, more than that, two happened ....
This was Sister-in-law Jennifer, for it is she, calling to ask if we would be at the game because Ashley (niece ... probably niece-in-law, not sure) was er *Flag Twirling*!!! I mean, it's not like there aren't enough flags around this country ... do they really need to *Twirl* them at a football game?
This attitude simply draws pitying looks from assorted in-laws, and they don't even tell me about the *Marching Band* :)
So, the big day dawns and Steve finds the occasional hint that he might need to rethink his position on school sporting events. I turned on the TV news first thing, to hear the sports section giving a run-down on the local High School games that coming night .... My ears perked up, and I begin to get the teensiest feeling that I might be missing something here. The BBC never do this for our High Schools. They mention Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, etcetera ... I have yet to hear them dicuss the prospects of even the most celebrated of our High Schools. *Tonights eagerly awaited showdown between the Snarling Tigers of Eton College, and the Destroying Dynamos of Rugby* is not the staple of BBC sports journalists! Tom's school, Homewood, has never, to my knowledge, crossed the radar of ANY sports correspondent.
So, hearing that the big game is a clash between Broken Arrow (Jodie's school district) and Union, has me wondering what is in store in downtown Okmulgee.
Okmulgee are playing McAlester. We get there, and I am not kidding, there must be about 2000 in the crowd. There are marching bands (1 per side), twirly girls (1 set per side, and Ashley is comfortably the best looking out there) and Cheerleaders yes, you guessed it, one set per side. There are more people involved in producing this game than yer average soccer international ... and the teams haven't come out yet!!!
Just as I am begining to get used to this and, actually enjoy it immensely, the helicopter arrives. I kid you not ... News Channel 8 in Tulsa has sent it's helicopter .... In 30 years of watching professional sports fixtures in the UK I only ever saw a helicopter arrive once; and that was to cart a badly injured football player off to the local hospital (They would probably do that here too, the difference being that the footballer would be asked for his credit card, and the hospital would be decided by the insurance company, but I digress).
Long story short time ..... it was great! Okmulgee were well on top by halftime (and won in the end) Ashley twirled, the band marched and the cheerleaders do what cheerleaders do (and they did it pretty well).
One notable incident during the 2nd quarter. An announcement on the PA system wanting to know who owned a cute, blonde 2 yr old in a Bulldogs t-shirt .... Bugger, where is Natalie???
Apparently she is in the Press Box .... they have a press box too? We retrieved her ... and the day ended well.
Just for the record, yesterday's game between Union and Jenks High Schools was played in the Skelly Stadium, Tulsa, in front of a paying crowd of 15000 .... mind blowing!