The Lion's Roar

A Farewell to High School Football

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Addison Gallagher, Editor-in-chief

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As the Thanksgiving football game drew to a close at Middletown High School South, the marching band’s rendition of the school song echoed through the bleachers. The fans who sported black and orange merchandise emptied the stands, the football players huddled in the center of the field to discuss their plays, the cheerleaders maintained their enthusiasm as they continued to dance. Everything was as it is following every football game, but at the same time, everything is different. Although I tried to absorb every last sense of the game, tried to hold on to the sight, the sound, the feeling, time antagonized me once again and soon enough it was all over. The football field was empty. The stands were lifeless. The aroma was eerily still. The four years of high school football participation came to a bittersweet conclusion.

It is a hard thought to wrap your mind around, that something so familiar to you could end so abruptly, even though in retrospect I was given four years to prepare for this separation. Nevertheless, when you love something so much, it’s never easy to let it go.

As a cheerleader for Middletown High School North, I was fortunate enough to constantly be involved in the football games; from freshman year to senior year, I have created countless memories standing on the sidelines and cheering for our football team. Every loss was a lesson of persistence and determination, every victory was a lesson of humility and gratitude. The members of the team epitomized using hard work in conquering obstacles.

Moreso, the feeling of community was one that prevailed at every game. Whenever spirits were down and the team slowly fell behind in score, the cheers in the stands from parents, community members, and the student body would only grow louder.

While reflecting on community at these football games, a specific instance comes to mind. On Thanksgiving of 2016, history was made as Middletown North defeated Middletown South in its rival match, ending a sixteen-year long losing streak. And for a moment, as the timer turned to read ‘00:00’ in the last quarter with North leading in score, the crowd erupted into the loudest cheer yet. The football players and cheerleaders jumped up and down in their spots, grabbing onto each other and hugging excitedly. The fans sprung from out of their seats and screamed for the team.

In that moment, Middletown High School North was not divided by unimportant details such as social status or grade. In that moment, everyone was one. We were a school, we were a community, we were infinite in these memories yet we did not know it. We only knew that we had won, and the cheering in the snow, going to football practice for hours on end, standing on the bleachers despite loss- everything had been for that moment.

I take pride as a student at Middletown High School North, deriving from the emotions of that one moment, and it is with heavy heart that I now express a farewell to high school football. As I leave high school behind and continue on to college, I know that high school does not stop when I do, and those younger than me will soon experience the same emotions that I have expressed and create similar memories and joy that the football games brought me. And I encourage them to do so, for these experiences will be carried with me onto my next journey in life.

While I say goodbye to high school football, I also want to say thank you. It has been one crazy ride, and I am inexplicably thankful for every second of it.

“And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening.” – Stephen Chbosky

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A Farewell to High School Football