Is it okay to get drunk before a high school football game?
I hope you read the title of this blog as a rhetorical question.
Hi. My name is Joe Dredge and I love high school sports. I participated in it myself when I was at Harlem High School. My dad coached sports in high school longer than I’ve been alive. And now I have the privilege of calling high school football and basketball on 1440 WROK.
I may have a Pollyanna view of high school sports, but I consider it one of the last bastions of pure athleticism. Sure, there are sports scholars who try to ruin the organic nature of high school sports, but the base is too broad to completely corrupt.
It’s a beautiful environment that should be enjoyed through the lens of young people, but that’s not how some high school sports consume.
I met a friend in Byron last Saturday morning to watch college football at a bar. One of my favorite pastimes, watching 9 college football games at a time in a bar while drinking a few beers.
I was very surprised to find the Byron bar packed at 10.30am on a Saturday. Like, outrageously packed. I had no idea the small town of Byron was going to be so bustling for an Illinois-Purdue game at 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning in mid-November.
Turns out I was wrong. Almost the entire bar was there to let loose a bit before the 1 p.m. playoff game against Reed-Custer.
This is not an inditment on the town of Byron itself. There were also a lot of fans who came to visit Reed-Custer there. Proudly sporting their high school sweatshirt as they hammered shots before heading to the football game.
Still. I’m no prude. I enjoy a grown drink once in a while. Even occasionally when it’s inappropriate. But do you really need to strap one on before a high school football game?
From my perspective, people who got bombed at the bar before the high school playoff game fell into two categories:
- Parents of children playing game. And
- Locals who just wanted to go see a high school football game.
Now, if you are in the first group, you get drunk before your child participates in a high school activity. Not great.
But in a way, it’s better than being a member of the other group that has no connection to the school other than living there and/or having gone to school there. school. In this case, you just got drunk on a Saturday morning to go see 16-18 year olds play football in a high school. Pretty scary.
I love that small communities like Bryon are embracing high school sports programs, but maybe we’re keeping the adult celebrations until the kids are done.