It was a warm, summer day as my mother accompanied me on a trip to a little South Dakota town just across the border from Minnesota. A job interview was scheduled for a teaching position and the day resulted in a job with a new life living in a small, farming community.
Yeah, I can see myself doing this a couple of years… which stretched out to 26 years plus additional substitute teaching years.
It was an emotional ending for the last Grant-Deuel High School sporting event held in the Revillo, South Dakota gymnasium. I listen for that memorable roar of Go, Big, Blue!, smell the fragrant concession stand popcorn and gaze at the sea of blue and white filling the stands… now merely memories of days gone by.
Witnessing the end of something or someone near and dear is always difficult and the demise of the Grant-Deuel High School football field is no different. It’s the end of an era with no possibility of future high school football memories to be made…
It’s not that I’m such a die hard football fan, but I am a fan of community pride. Volunteers from the community and school would show up in droves to work the games in various capacities and, of course, pump up school spirit as cheerleaders and pep band members. Fans would start parking vehicles early in the morning or even the night before a home game just to get their favorite spot. The community would hum with chatter the next day after an exciting game with their own strategy analysis.
High school football was a catalyst for teaching the importance of hard work, perseverance, tolerance and teamwork. You win together, you lose together, and the big one… life isn’t always fair.
So, here’s to the final farewell of Friday night lights and the Grant-Deuel Wildcat football field.