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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Football is back: Are you ready?

Friday, August 17, 2012

A light flickers as the hum of stadium lights illuminate a dark field, shedding life on a new season.

In the distance the unifying sound of a brigade of marching band members file into the stadium.

All is quiet in the musty locker rooms filled with the stinging stench of sweat from the countless hours of summer preparations.

A battalion of soldiers crowd in a huddle for their final words of encouragement from their leader.

Fans fill the bleachers clad in their colors representing their school. Old men gather along the fence, arms draped over the side as they await their soldiers to take the field of battle.

Football is back.

The aroma of fresh cut grass fills the air as the cheerleaders fire up the crowd.

The final words of tactics and encouragement fill the spirits of the young men suited up, ready to fight and bleed for glory.

Few things in this world can unify so many of different creeds, colors, races, religions and beliefs.

It's a rather simple concept that small pieces of leather bound by stitches can bring together communities every Friday night from August until November.

All the hours of braving summer heat for training and conditioning leads to the first kickoff of the season.

The crowds roar as the players line up just before sending the game underway. As the referee blows his whistle signaling to the kicker, all goes quiet.

Football is back.

There are few words that can describe a brotherhood among 40 to 50 young men who endure the stresses of such a gladiatorial sport.

But for those 40 to 50 individuals, the promises of glory are worth the sacrifice.

Football means so much to so many individuals in so many ways.

Newspaper clippings line refrigerators from the prior week's triumphs and defeats.

For 48 minutes every Friday night, everything is put on hold. Troubles and tribulations of work, school, and other aspects of life are on hold.

Nothing else matters except holding the line with the man next to you.

Life is short. But for those who embrace the challenge and answer the call, the rewards are innumerable.

Some will go on to the next level, some will move on to other aspects of life.

But all who have a love for the game will return to the stands, the fences next to the field, and the sidelines.

Some will rise and some will fall.

Not everybody can finish at the top. Those who seek smaller victories in building leadership and character will emerge victorious, regardless of the final number on the scoreboard.

A new dawn approaches. Championships will be won, and games will be lost.

True victories will shine through dark times.

Hope will be given to those who reach out and seize it.

There is no greater victory than watching a group of young boys begin a season and watching a band of young men emerge at the other end.

A new season is upon us.

Football is back.

Chris Siers is the sports editor of the Times-Gazette. Email him at sports@t-g.com.

Chris Siers
The Extra Point
Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.