Friday, November 11, 2011

California High School Football

Last night we went to a football game at Homestead High School. Some of the best known alumni are the "Steves" that founded Apple. That should tell you a bit about the school. It has produced a few NFL players, but clearly, football is not the focus here. The opponent was Los Gatos, a team that has had a little more recent football success. (Stanford and NFL QB Trend Edwards comes to mind.)

However, the school does go through the motions. There is a (really big) band in the stands. They are all dressed up like a band and play in the first half. Then, they do their half time show and go AWOL for the second half.

The opposing band doesn't bother to show up in California. This in spite of the opponent located within biking distance. (A sousaphone on a bike would be an interesting site.) In Texas, band would routinely travel a couple of hours to accompany the football team. California? Nah, they don't seem to be part of it.

At least the Los Gatos Cheerleaders came along. Homestead had cheerleaders, too. Well, at least they had a bunch of people doing synchronized cheering motions. They seemed fairly oblivious to what was actually going on on the football field. They also didn't look like cheerleaders. Black pants and a green jacket? They could have at least tried to adopt something resembling a cheerleader uniform. Instead they looked more like a few people that wandered out to show off.

Halftime was also a letdown. The dance team went on the field and did their thing (to piped in music.) The band then came out and stood in place while some brass and percussion danced around playing a funky song.

The stadium was also tiny. About the size of a junior high stadium in Texas. In spite of the size, the fanbase was not all that bad. A number of spontaneous "defense" chants arose during the course of the game, along with plenty of cheering and yelling.

At least the football team still seemed to play some fairly standard football.

However, instead of the pageantry that surrounds high school football, we get something more akin to the sterility of the NFL game, though without the large-scale community involvement.

The cheerleaders, dance team, band and football team were all doing their own thing, but none seemed to care about what the others were doing. While there were some fans that were really involved in the game, many seemed interested in only particular areas. (There for the band, the cheerleaders, the dancers, etc.) There were very few "external" members of the community involved in the game. You would even be hard-pressed to find any signs around campus indicating a game would be going on.

Perhaps it could argued that this is healthy. Schools don't dedicate too much attention to one area, but spread their loyalties and energies around. (This was the argument that Palo Alto gave when no students seemed to realize they were playing for the state championship.) However, this "diversity" of loyalties instead leaves each group isolated without the benefit of a strong supportive community experience. When the band and other groups are actively involved and tightly intertwined with the team, they become part of the entire experience. The fans support everyone together, rather than a single group. The participants and spectators all have a better experience. The individuals get to enjoy a bit of community.

No comments:

Post a Comment