Proud to say: High School football meant for Friday nights
I remember walking with my dad through that field on a Friday night.
I was about 4 years old, and my family lived across the street from the high school athletic fields in a small one-bedroom blue house, which looked more like a really big box with a roof on it. All that separated our home from the football stadium was that empty space, spotted with growing tumbleweeds, and a parking lot. The lights from the stadium silhouette the cars parked in the lot and my father who was walking slightly in front of me. I don’t recall if we even went to the game that night, or just looked over the fence, but I remember being very impressed by the glow of the stadium amid the normally dark area and the roar of the crowd that drowned out the cars from the freeway nearby. That night, I decided I would play football under those lights when I was old enough.
I grew up in a small town in the central valley of California, called Lemoore. Just like most small towns, there isn’t a lot happening, and come fall Friday nights, you can bet that if the Tigers are in town, the town would be there. Even in the bad years, which were plentiful, it was at the least a meeting place for locals to catch up.
As I grew up, that stadium would be a hub for my childhood, whether it was going to games or playing for the Lemoore High School Tigers. I remember standing just outside the reach of the lights before a varsity game with my teammates, just soaking in everything – from the fans that lined both sides of the field, to the band playing the national anthem and the school colors painted on the grass. It’s something that will always be with me, and I can guarantee that this Friday night, and the rest of them, will stick with the Viking football players.
It’s an interesting coincidence that the motivation for lights at South Tahoe High School would come from Tiger Stadium at Lemoore High School, where I played. It all started with the parents of South Tahoe athletic director Don Borges. They went to Lemoore High and suffered through hot Saturday afternoons watching their four sons play for the Vikings. Two years ago Borges’ father passed away, but out of that tough time for the family, the renovations at Viking Stadium were kick-started.
“My mother said instead of taking the money (donations for the family),” Borges said. “Lets put it toward South Tahoe having lights.”
Two years later the Vikings have lights, along with a brand new turf and even more renovations on the way. This Friday will be a night to remember the school and the community. And for the players, it’ll be something to remember for a years to come. There are a lot of cliches that go with playing high school football on Friday nights. It’s as American as apple pie, a senior prom or a hot dog at a ball game. But nonetheless, Friday nights belong to prep football. And from here on out that night will belong to prep football in South Tahoe, and that’s how it should be.
Joe Proudman is the sports editor at the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-542-8010. Follow Tahoe sports news every day on Twitter at @tahoesports.