What would drive a person that was coming off a late evening to get up early and travel nearly an hour to watch a high school football scrimmage between four teams where not one player on the field …
What would drive a person that was coming off a late evening to get up early and travel nearly an hour to watch a high school football scrimmage between four teams where not one player on the field was related in any way, shape, or form? In this case, it was a Jeep and to be clear, the Jeep did not drive me, I drove the Jeep. The motivating factors were my love of high school football; Hastings High School Football in particular, a sunny Saturday morning would be a great backdrop as a spectator and, when I asked Mary what her plans for the day were, she said “cleaning around the house.” That was my cue that heading out to the scrimmage at Bloomington Jefferson High School was the option that best got me out of cleaning duties.
Last season there were not many chances for spectators who did not have a kid on the team to be able to experience the “smack of the pads” on a Friday night. There were a couple broadcasts provided by local media outlets which were greatly appreciated. Like most things in life, it was not the same as being there. To be up close to the action once again, albeit a scrimmage, was a great feeling. As I pulled into the parking lot, it was like old times. Seeing the Hastings Bus Company buses parked in a row triggered a positive feeling of “finally… it’s football season again!!” Seeing Hastings legend Augie O’Brien exit one of the buses and head across the pavement solidified it. “The man, the myth, the legend,” I said to him as we joined up to walk to the practice fields. He shared that his biggest hopes were to see how the Freshman class has developed as it was the last group of kids that he coached at the Middle School level.
As we parted ways, my mind started going into analysis mode, as it often does. There are times that I think too much. Maybe you can relate? By too much, I mean, sometimes I suffer paralysis by over analysis. I lose myself in thought instead of just being able to live in the moment. I looked around at the various fields being inhabited by gridiron warriors (football players), head coaches, assistant coaches, training staff and a handful of what I gather were volunteers armed with cameras empowered to capture the moments of the day. I saw parents, grandparents and other family members who were there to provide support for their favorite player. My mind continued to swirl like the nice breeze that created a comfortable environment to watch football.
I did plenty of watching and for those who are “Blue and Gold” fans, I saw a lot of things to get excited about. Offensively, the Raiders have some definite threats both on the ground and through the air. Defense looked good as well with three or four interceptions towards the end of the scrimmage that would have been sure defensive touchdowns. Still, my mind kept going well beyond what was happening between the white lines on the field and spilling over to the bigger picture of what I was experiencing. As I was walking towards my vehicle as the activities were winding down, I had an “ah ha” moment. “This was so much more than high school football,” I thought to myself. “This is my column for next week.”
I started this column off by noting that I had no relationship to any player on the field. False. We all have an inherent relationship to each other as human beings. The fact that we all live in proximity of each other within the land of “Minnesconsin” makes that inherent relationship even stronger. The fact that many of us were there to support the players donned in the blue and gold uniforms added another notch to our relationship. We were all able to share in the same experience on a beautiful Saturday morning with the sun shining brightly and a gentle breeze. It was not about who won or lost, which team was the best or if the kid you were there to cheer for had a great game. It was about getting better and working together towards a common goal.
So, other than the fact the scrimmage was outside, what does this have to do with “Outdoor Adventures?” An adventure is an exciting activity. Realizing that something is much more than what you originally intended it to be is exciting. The opportunity for us to experience “outdoor adventures” are there for all if you open your mind. Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors!!