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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Raising Our Game

In laying out an ambitious agenda--one that would make an already beautiful and effective state-of-the-art campus even more so--our athletic department at Westminster Christian Academy has rolled a winning pair of dice.

Launching it on an official Facebook page this morning, Westminster is promoting its hoped-for athletic upgrades for a tennis pavilion, an improved football stadium public address system, and lights for the football field.

Why the hubbub, you ask?

Westminster has answered a number of the questions about stadium lights, especially as having them installed would free up scheduling issues, help us avoid excessive Missouri daytime heat that can extend into the Indian summer days, freeing up weekend family time for our spectators, staff, and coaches, and also making our athletes more visible for collegiate recruiting. Plus, if you ask me, high school football makes sense under the lights. We're not on the set of Dead Poets Society or School Ties, where alums gather for Saturday afternoon games. H.G. Bissinger's iconic book about the Permian Panthers was called Friday Night Lights, not Saturday Showcase, for a reason. My wife, raised in the Deep South, knows the trinity of her culture is that of grits, barbecue, and Friday night high school football. She's been waiting for this moment as I have. Saturday football is meant to be college football, where people can cheer on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Georgia Bulldogs and teams of schools that are a step down in class from those two.

This is not for glitz and show, by the way. These upgrades are formative for our school community. Attendance would skyrocket and students would mingle. Relationships would form and deepen, and many memories would be made that begin with "Remember that night when we beat Borgia and..."

I say this as a teacher at Westminster, as a former coach, and as one who loves the deepening of school community. I say this as the team PA announcer, for I can already see the benefits therein.

     Autumn nights were meant for this...
     Imagine if you would a blazing orb making its rhythmic descent past the horizon's western edge, throwing a mesmeric glow on the jagged fingers of clouds. The alluring scent of burgers, hot dogs, and bratwursts have brought the legions of fans to Westminster Stadium, milling together in glorious fellowship as the temperature goes crisp in the rippling breezes. With a full-throated roar, the vociferous congregation lifts its voices as one as the Wildcats storm the field. The glorious salvo shakes the ground as thunder. Young and old, parents and students, alumni and teachers...all are the choir of the faithful under this divine blanket of stars. Yes, the divine blanket of stars, we say, as the luminous flash gives birth to life in our den on Friday nights.
     Yes, muses the conductor of the gridiron's orchestral beauty, taking the microphone to begin this evening's athletic liturgy. Tonight, we've become a family, I say to myself. For autumn nights were meant for this.
     Let there be light...

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