**Before I discuss my night last night, I want to take a moment to ask you to put a Chambers family in your thoughts and prayers as they struggle through the loss of their beloved son and brother, Clint. Clint started kindergarten with Jacy and graduated with her, so I know she's definitely hurting right now too. Clint was a really wonderful young man. He was also so polite and was always quick with a smile. He died doing what he loved - bull riding. I know he will be missed dearly by all of those who knew him. May he rest in peace.**
On my way to work yesterday, I drove past a ton of signs advertising the Coppell High School football game. I was immediately intrigued - high schools advertise football games?! What kind of alternate universe was I living in? Then I quickly understood. Dorothy, I'm not in Nebraska anymore. I'm in the land where showy football games were all but invented - TEXAS. Everything is bigger here. And my new town of Coppell is the home to the Coppell Cowboys, a class 5A football team. Class 5A is the largest (as in school population) of any class in Texas. Texas 5A football is where legends are born.
Where I come from, eight-man football is more prevalent. While most people have never even heard of eight-man football, that's what I grew up on (well, besides watching Huskers games on TV). Our tiny Chambers High team maybe, maybe could get 300 people to attend its games, well at least when I was back in high school. We didn't have cheerleaders or half-time shows. Up until a few years ago, we didn't even have a "press box" worthy of being called a press box. It was more like a death trap. I swear the whole thing shook when someone tried to scale its ladder. Don't get me wrong, Nebraska high school football is great, too. It's where corn-fed beasts are born (insert Jared Crick/Joel/Jeff Makovicka here). I love my Nebraska high school football, but I wanted to see what the Texas hype was all about.
I immediately decided that I wanted to attend this game and I was dragging my roommate, Liz, with me. I had second thoughts though because admission to the game was eight freaking dollars. EIGHT DOLLARS? To watch kids play football? I paid less for a Rangers ticket a few weeks ago - and they're top of the American League West! But then Liz assured me that her brother's family had season tickets, so we could just borrow one of theirs and split the cost of a general admission ticket. I was all in. Then I took a double-take at Liz's text message. Season tickets, huh? To a high school football game? That's ridiculous that they even offer season tickets. Season tix are for colleges.
However, as we entered the parking lot, my mind began to sway in the direction of "Man, season tickets are a good idea here." Liz and I got to the game about 45 minutes until kickoff and the parking lots were already nearly full. Fans tailgated on the lawns in front of the stadium as we made our way to the gates to purchase a GA ticket. The stadium's hustle and bustle was quite the sight! Verizon FIOS and ESPN even set up shop inside the stadium to lure fans to purchase something in exchange for a free blanket, stadium chair or cooler/grill combo. Liz and I got our own Coppell Cowboys fleece blanket after purchasing a Showtime package through Verizon - such suckers we are. :)
We got some grub - Yes, I got BBQ - and made our way to our seats. "Ladies, these seats are reserved." "Um, ladies, keep moving, these seats are reserved. You can sit at either side of the stadium or in the student section." I thought, "Yeah, right, like all of these reserved seats will be taken. Ha!" Well, sure as the sky is blue, those reserved seats were filled to the brim. As were the general admission seats we were in.
Oh - and the field - I swear there were more people on the field than were in the seats! Cheerleaders and select band members and boosters and Coppell's own version of the Roughnecks and a huge dance crew were all lined up on the field. As the Cowboys made their way onto the field, they were proceeded by smoke-machine produced fog as they ran out of a huge, blow-up helmet. The Star Spangled Banner was played, the fight song was sung and the kickoff was, well, weak to be frank. The kicker wasn't great. I expected more from him.
The game was slow, but the Coppell Cowboys gained a 7-0 cushion heading into halftime. And that's when the fun began. HALFTIME. If you know me at all, you know I'm a humungo band geek. Seriously, I had a terrible time giving up my sax. I joined UNL campus band to satisfy my thirst for music. I'd even secretly sneak out of my dorm room freshman year to sit in front of the belltower and listen to the band practice in the early mornings. I'm THAT geeky.
So, when I heard Coppell's band was BOMB, I had to stay until half-time. But before the band got a chance to play, a dance group called the Lariettes (http://www.chslariettes.com/ ) took the field. Being a dance junkie as well, I was completely intrigued. This group was amazing. Five captains took the field first and did some out-of-this-world synchronized leaps and kicks. Then, without any warning, they did a little salute and ended in a leap-into-the-freaking-splits move. I whimpered outloud as my hands made their way to my groins in pain. Holy hell that had to have hurt. But it was sure cool. Then the entire dance team lept and kicked onto the field in their cute little hats and fringy little outfits. AH-DOOR-ABLE! I've never seen a more in sync group of 50+ dancers. Their choreography was impeccable.
After being thoroughly impressed by the Lariettes, the band had a lot to prove. And they did it. I swear the band was bigger than Nebraska's band. It was HUGE. I couldn't get over the dynamics they had on the field (music-wise). I felt like I was at a symphony. I'm not even kidding when I say I actually had to wipe a tear from my cheek at one point. A high school marching band could sound THAT good? Wow. WOW.
I was satisfied after half-time, so Liz and I packed up our stuff and headed to a late-night movie. The Cowboys ended up winning 13-0 last night.
If you haven't gathered my overall assessment of Texas high school football from my flattering words, please let me leave you with this: I'm on the Coppell website right now figuring out how to get season tickets.
Here's me being a giant goon...