At the intersection of writing and life with the author of the Cameron Ballack mysteries

Monday, October 20, 2014

Saturday's Children

This week's post comes as the football season is heating up. Of course, the college season is in full midseason gear. The NFL has passed the one-third-of-the-way mark, and the Canadian Football League is making its mad dash toward the Grey Cup playoffs. But for a post entitled "Saturday's Children", you might think I'm speaking of college football. And that'd be a good guess, especially if you're thinking of Giles Tippette's book of the same name that chronicles Rice University's gut-wrenching 1971 season (think the writing ability of John Feinstein on steroids with additional grit). But no, I'm speaking of the high school game, which in Missouri has entered the win-or-go-home phase.

This season at Westminster Christian Academy has been close to magical. In Class 4, our Wildcats are ranked (before press time tomorrow) seventh in the state of Missouri and are the first seed in our district. The first playoff game is this coming Saturday at our home stadium against the St. Clair High School Bulldogs, and Wildcat Nation is ready to take the proverbial bull by the horns and ride the path of hard work and determination and turn it into the Road to Glory. Make no mistake. It will take some bounces going our way, but in coaching, team discipline and attitude, we have a championship-caliber team.

If you're in the area, this first-round game is a great opportunity to come out and see what we're buzzing about here at Westminster. And if you need some additional impetus to show up at this clash, look no further than this blog post.

That's right: I'm giving you my...


(10) The 2:30 kickoff means we're going head-to-head for Nielsen ratings with Mississippi State vs. Kentucky (CBS), Michigan vs. Michigan State (ABC), and even Vanderbilt vs. Missouri (SECN). But look at it this this age of delayed gratification, you can set your DVRs for those college games and always catch them later while you work around the Ole Miss-LSU game that night. This is Westminster football. That means it takes priority.

(9) Weather: It's too early to be fully precise, but preliminary forecasts are calling for a Saturday afternoon of full sunshine with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees. Come on, people--that is one beautiful day for high school playoff football.

(8) If you are somewhat unfamiliar with Westminster or haven't been around here for awhile, the game will also give you an up-close glimpse of our state-of-the-art campus, with quality academic, athletics, and fine arts facilities. 800 Maryville Center Drive is an absolute jewel.

(7) The football game is literally the only athletic event on Westminster's campus this Saturday. So you'll have nothing else to draw you aside. However, you can make it to plenty of away games and still get to the varsity contest in time (e.g., the 7th and 8th grade football games at MICDS at 9 am and 10:30 am). In fact, are there any requests for a massive tailgating party in the parking lot prior to game time? Anyone got a massive BBQ smoker?

(6) Westminster junior student John Pottebaum, fearless leader of the WCA student Blue Crew, has gone on record saying that if St. Clair is tied or leading the game midway through the first quarter, he will drink a bottle of barbecue sauce and chase it with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Although that's not an optimal situation for our football team, it's certainly an interesting possibility.

(Actually, Pottebaum never promised that. Scratch #6. I was just kidding.)

(5) This playoff run is the final push for quarterback Brendan Bognar, linebacker Caleb Miller, and many of our other senior players who have exhibited leadership and winning attitude all season long. Showing up for the game will honor their season-long efforts.

(4) This weekend coincides with my beautiful wife's birthday. Our whole family will be at the game, so you can come by and wish her a happy anniversary of her 21st birthday.

(3) We honestly have the best game crew in the business. There is nothing like having the opportunity to announce the game, and I enjoy it greatly. Dave Dorton (scoreboard) and LB Graham (play clock) keep things running smoothly, and Luke Breems is a crack statistician. Plus, the Howard Warren-Scott Holley-Warren Smith first-down chain gang has been ranked by the Missouri State High School Activities Association as the #1 chain gang in the entire state!

(Okay, there are no chain-gang rankings, but they'd be number 1 if there were.)

(2) The other aspects of the game are just as memorable. Dr. Jim Sefrit gives phenomenal and heartfelt pre-game prayers, the student choir can sing the national anthem with the soul of Diana Ross and the volume of Laura Wright. And the volunteers at the concession stand go above and beyond the call of duty.

(1) I cannot stress how essential it is you attend the game if able. High school playoff football is here and it's win or go home. If you don't want to watch football, many Americans will want to know why. And if many Americans are asking that question, there are likely other questions they are asking. Questions like "Isn't it probable that person doesn't put the nozzle back on the gas pump properly at QuikTrip? Isn't it also somewhat likely they don't organize their coupons for grocery shopping? And isn't it entirely reasonable to assume that no football love probably means that person doesn't like scrambled eggs, bacon, sawmill gravy, biscuits, and grits?" And that's where you'd be sledding into some dangerous territory, people. Because if you don't like biscuits, the terrorists win.

Don't let the terrorists win. Come to Saturday's game and cheer on Saturday's children.

Go Wildcats! 

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