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52 topix, Week 5, page 2
Credits: Go Team Football Papers by Kathy Winters Designs, Elements from All Star Sports by Twin Mom Scraps.
Friday Night or Sunday Afternoon; Football, You Bet!
As much as I am a lifelong baseball fan, I do accept that while baseball may be “America’s Pastime,” Football is America’s passion! That passion is infectious. I always watch the Super Bowl and many games leading up to it, even when baseball and football season overlap! There’s always been something about football that a sports fan of any degree can’t turn away from.
When I was the sports producer at Omnicom and Continental Cable I produced many sports shows. I loved that job because I love teenagers and supporting the positive things they do. I guess it’s because I dealt with stereotypes as a teen because of my age and the way I dressed; like a not-mainstream teenager and in my late teens/early 20s, a fashionista. I was an honor roll student, I spent every Tuesday evening at coffee with my great-grandmother, although I tried a couple, it wasn’t my style ad I didn’t do drugs and my parents always knew where I was going and I never broke curfew. But by strangers, I was treated apprehensively like I was a hoodlum. As one who put the local teens on TV for the good things, I guess I felt some vindication. Nothing was quite as cool as being in the control room when the kids were working on a public access show and a sports presentation came on. The intro for sorts was fast edits of lots of sporting events I’d covered and the kids would look on the monitor and point out themselves and all of their friends in the intro. It was a thrill for them and I loved seeing them smile. That’s what teenagers are; pre-adults looking to be seen and acknowledged, appreciated for what they do.
Friday nights in the fall were party time. It was Friday night football at the area high schools. We covered home games for the three high schools in our service area, including that the major rivalry games were on the same night and every other year I carefully delegated staff and equipment to cover 2 football games. Canton and Salem were each other’s rival and shared the same field, so no matter who the home team was the game was always played in our service area. On that same night, Northville played its major rival, Novi. We didn’t tape the game when it was in Novi, where their cable company covered the game, but when it was in Northville, I had to make sure I had a team out there. The greatest stress for me that night was that I wasn’t on location for the actual game, although I was there getting the production team set up before the game. That was the night I really was a producer; putting my associate producer and my best intern in Northville while travelling back to Canton where our engineer and another producer who was a football fan had volunteered to direct. I loved it and thrived on it. The rivalry football games were the most watched and most requested replays of the year.
The atmosphere at the football games was always electric. The crowds were always big and there was a great range of people from parents in the stands to friends and girlfriends of the players who didn’t leave the stands until halftime and kids just supporting their school and enjoying a Friday night with friends. There were band members and their supporters who stayed in the stands even during halftime when the band took the field. There were cheerleaders and pom-pom squads, many of those were girls that were excited and thrilled the first time we brought equipment in to tape gymnastics, their other sport and the one that was all about their own abilities. Most of them really thought it was pretty cool to be the gymnast on TV and not just a cheerleader, although they were proud cheerleaders too.
It was often a hot chocolate night, where we’d get warm drinks out to cold camera operators as we= alternated people to get everyone a short break. I never had trouble getting volunteers to work until 10:30 on a Friday night for football. We often got kids who knew us from other community functions or the public access classes I taught who’d stop by the production truck to say “hi.” Sometimes they were the ones who took the hot drinks out to the crew.
Football brings out community spirit at any level, be it those wonderful Friday nights when I was in high school or as an adult covering high school sports, rowdy Saturday afternoons at college games or at a party on Super Bowl Sunday. It truly is an all-American common denominator.