Hometown football is more than a sport

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The moment die-hard fans of our local football teams is finally here: The 2021 football season is underway.

Our hometown teams are geared up for a successful season, but before we set them up on a proverbial pedestal, let's remember that it's a rebuilding year for some, while others have first-year coaches who have been tasked with revamping an entire program.

Sure, we all want to see our home teams make it all the way to the state championship. 

Can they? Of course, they can.

But while our coaches and young athletes deal with the pressure of the hopes and expectations we have placed on them as a community, let's remember that the responsibility of a winning season shouldn't rest solely on their shoulders.

One essential cog in the wheel of all our coaches and players, a big part of their playbook, is a basic, time-honored principle: community support.

Will we be in the stands only when our teams are winning? Or will we be there to let them know we support them, even when they don't win every game?

It may take time for some of our teams to rebuild to the powerhouses they were years ago, but local residents can be a vital piece of that reconstruction by simply buying a ticket and taking a seat in the stands.

If you don't have time to attend a game but would like to show your support, you can call the school's athletic department and offer to help sponsor a meal, provide water or sports drinks, or even make a monetary donation to the team, cheerleaders, or the band.

An added bonus of attending the games? The nostalgic feeling that comes from sitting under those Friday night lights can also bring us closer as a community. It's not only a way to help build the morale of our football programs; it's a chance to interact with each other in a positive way.

Whether you find yourself sitting next to a classmate you haven't seen in years or a neighbor you've never met, there's always a chance you'll rediscover an old friendship or the beginning of another.

Whatever the case, I urge you to come out and support these young players, band members, and cheerleaders.

If you can't attend an away game, be sure to check out a few at home.

You just might fall in love with your hometown all over again.

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