Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In four days, two football games; and two things I've never, ever seen before

On a miserable, rainy Friday night, I trudged out to cover a football game. Schools in our area are notorious for postponing football games in even moderate rainfall, so it was a bit of a surprise that one of the area's biggest games was still going on.

But on it went, and I made the drenching walk from my car to the press box, where I dropped my stuff and made my way to find a program. Because it's helpful to identify those players we write about, and my boss wouldn't much appreciate reading about how punter #26 was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

I struck up a conversation with a guy who had arrived as early as I did - which was early. Said he drove up from King George County, (we're in Prince William County) though I never bothered to ask why he drove up from King George County. He managed to pluck a seat in the front row, and while talking to him, I noticed a strange deal on the field.

I excused myself from the conversation and took a walk onto the field. Sure enough, something I'd never seen before in my life: Black yardlines. It sort of made sense, since the grass on the field was mostly yellow.

The home team's coach told me later that their Bermuda grass goes dormant when it gets cold and turns yellow. It was completely legal, since yardlines aren't required to be white, only contrasting to the field. Plus, this was their way of celebrating Homecoming.

I took a quick photo with my cell phone for posterity, thinking the dude at the Uniwatch blog might be interested in it. Sure enough, he was.

Fast forward a few days later. On Monday night, I'm covering a different game in a different corner of the county. One of our local teams is playing a league opponent from Shenandoah County (wow, I'm helpful with maps today, huh?).

Our local team is up by two touchdowns, and the visiting team's offense is frustrated by a solid performance by the home team's defense, which allowed 102 yards of total offense and forced five three-and-out series.

After one such series, for the second time in four days, I saw (or in this case, heard) something I've never ever seen before at a football game: Cheerleaders talking shit. To their own team.

"We're over here screaming our heads off and you guys aren't doing a thing out there!" one yelled.

A few seconds later after the ball was punted, most of the players on the sideline lingered near the original line of scrimmage.

"Hey guys," another yelled, "the ball's down there!"


And the crazy thing about all this? Just last week - before Friday night - I was thinking how it seems I never see anything different at a football game.

Guess I won't be thinking that this Thursday.


P.J. said...

Just another reason why cheerleaders should be in the stands -- they think they are bigger than the game and that people actually came to see them and not the game.


And Brian -- the press box? At a high school game? Pffft! Sidelines! I don't think I've spent more than a quarter in a press box at a high school game ever. And that includes two driving rain storms this year.


If you've ever seen the press boxes up here, you'd understand why. If you guys have anything down there that actually resemble press boxes, you can actually get a seat and can see the game... I might consider it! :)

ME said...

This brings up an interesting point. I've been doing the chains for a local high school this year (blog entry coming soon) & wondered why the reporters are on the sideline. (We took out one idiot last week because he didn't move before we took the chains across the field.)

These guys look like they are recording every play. Wouldn't it be a hell of a lot easier to see what's going on from up high? When there's a play on the far side of the field, there's no way they can see who forced a fumble, recovered it, etc. Maybe they can, but their vision must be a lot better than mine.

Brian said...

PJ: Rain/precip is the only thing that forces me into the box. The only other thing that would do that is a STRONG wind.

I know you told us about those pencils that work in rain, but I haven't gotten around to getting one.

Matt: On the field, you can get so much more info. I like the fact that I can determine for myself where every spot of the ball is; in the box, you're at an angle.

And you notice different things. Like on the visiting team's only score last night, they ran a hitch & go, executed very well vs. 1-on-1 coverage. CB bit like a bass on a hook. I didn't use it in the story, but it was some good info to have just in case.