Publicado el 09/28/2006 4:18 PM EST
By Durhl Caussey
There is a certain rite of passage that occurs annually in communities across the land. But this near-religious tradition appears to become the most manifest in rural and small towns among the Texas landscapes. It echoes through the flat lands of the far west and northern Panhandle. It meanders along the coast like a Scottish fog, while settling comfortably among the hills and piney woods of the east. By the time this rite arrives in the cities of this great state, it has developed into a great roar that reverberates down concrete thoroughfares, soaking into rich suburbs and humble dwellings of the inner city. This rite of passage is an anomaly called football season. And unless you have been held captive in an Afghan cave, in a coma since 1906, or sequestered in a South American prison, then you too are aware of the awakening and await its coming.
Last Friday night, I didn’t just get to observe this rite, but actually got to participate. For years I was a participating spectator at this seizure called Texas High School football fever. But time, and the maturing of my children toward their own families, eroded my long passions, causing the rite to escape into my after-thoughts.
But this Friday night, Texas football was witnessed at its finest. The game pitted the Bowie Jackrabbits against the Holliday Eagles. The combat took place in Bowie, Texas, lasting nearly two hours. The feat displayed marching bands, festive parents and players that ran, hit, and tackled like Spartan warriors. Not only was the game exciting, but during its duration I managed to eat two hot dogs, a bag of popcorn, two Diet Dr Peppers and a brick of fudge. All this for $6! This excluded the indigestion medicine I had to take about 11:30 that night.
The football experience encompassed all the sensory accruements I possessed.
The sounds from the crowd, the shouts of the coaches, the smiles representing success or frowns on despondent faces, and the comforting breeze bringing the scents from the country were all there. Cloudless skies held the bright lights of the playing field, helping to fortify us against the ebony night. The aromas of wonderfully prepared foods hung like veiled manna over the stadium.
Younger kids played under the stands, older folks sat in lawn chairs in the end zones, as dads and brothers leaned on the fence surrounding the playing field. The home team stands were overflowing with families and students with few leaving early, even though their beloved Jackrabbits fell to the fiery Holliday Eagles 22-0.
Older ladies seemed the most pleased and reflected a pleasant surprise as I tipped my cap, probably fostering memories of a fashionable tradition that is vastly disappearing.
It is unfortunate that this small town philosophy and seasonal sportsmanship appears to be vanishing. More and more small school are closing across Texas or losing enrollment. But cities and suburbs are growing, and this rite of passage appears well entrenched or growing in popularity.
In the end zones, along the fence and in the stands, folks visited, laughed, cried, and shared the experiences of their lives. They witnessed, spoke about their successes and failures, all of which provided a type of cohesiveness that manufactured glue through which human sharing developed. This sharing binds us closer together as a people of commonality. This is more than a rite of passage for young men and the people of a community in the fall season. This loving, sharing, talking and encouraging are what separates us from all the other creatures of the planet. These are the ingredients that are poured into the creative pot and christened humankind.
Durhl Caussey is a syndicated columnist who writes for papers across America. He may be reached at this paper or at fax # 972-709-6989 or firstname.lastname@example.org.