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October 15, 2005

Go Big Orange!

I went to the Parkview High School football game tonight (representing the Class of 1988). The game was played at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross and I drove over to see them play, primarily to take advantage of a beautiful autumn evening. The weather was clear and crisp and beautiful. I actually got a little chilly during the second half. I had on an orange long sleeve shirt (for school spirit) and my Falcons safari hat. Parkview came into the game with a record of 5-2. Meadowcreek came in at 0-7, having been beaten by Brookwood (Parkview's big, big rival) 60-0 a few weeks ago (the week before Brookwood beat the hell out of Parkview, actually). We found out that yes, Meadowcreek really is that bad.

Of course, the whole adventure started with the drive over. Meadowcreek High School is actually closer to my house than Parkview is, by about 15 minutes. In normal conditions the drive from my house to Steve Reynolds Blvd. (where MHS is located) would take about 25 minutes. Tonight, it took me 80 minutes to get there. 80! Damn the top end on Friday afternoon, anyway. If I hadn't left the house 30 minutes early (intending to eat on the way over), I might have missed the first quarter. As it stands, I didn't eat on the way, and got there about 10 minutes before kickoff. $7 for a ticket to get in. Not a bad deal.

Right away I could tell it was going to be an interesting evening. I had never been to a game at Meadowcreek before, and in going there, I saw something I had never seen before in Gwinnett County--a stadium with only one bank of bleachers. Every other stadium I have ever been to in Gwinnett has bleachers on both sides of the field. Meadowcreek does not. They don't even have a track around the field. The cheerleaders stood in the bleachers. I had forgotten what it's like to be at a game with both sets of fans on the same side of the field and both bands blasting away from the same set of bleachers. Wild. I wound up sitting next to the parents of one of Parkview's wide receivers and his mom and I chatted all through the game as his dad kept yelling encouragement and admonition: "Come on, Chris!" "Stay with him, buddy!" "Catch it!" and so on. I regaled his mom with stories of Parkview gridiron ineptitude from my era. Turns out her son is a senior, and was born 12 days after I graduated from Parkview. Oy. Old much?

Parkview immediately showed dominance in the game, taking a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. It could have been 21-0, but for a fumble deep in Meadowcreek territory. The game would continue in that vein until the end, Parkview pretty much doing whatever they wanted on offense, and winning the game 43-7. It could have been 60, had they really gotten a little luckier on a couple of plays. We looked good, and the backups got a lot of playing time in the fourth quarter.

Meadowcreek just isn't very good, I'm sorry to say. They try hard, but just aren't very good at all. They actually reminded me a lot of the Parkview teams when I was there in the late '80's--not a lot of size, not a lot of speed, not a lot of wins. Their only TD came on a freak play where the quarterback was in the shotgun, the center blew the snap, the guy was running for his life 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage, flipped a desperation pass to a man in the flats who went all the way across the field, came all the way back, and in the process gained 35 yards and scored. One of the damndest plays I've ever seen. Oh, and I have to tell you about one of the most boneheaded plays I've ever seen a punter make. Meadowcreek was punting. The snap was bad (a theme for them tonight, actually) and was rolling along the ground, inside their own 20 yard line. Their punter picks it up, starts to run with it, actually breaks a tackle, stumbles, starts to go down, then suddenly--just before he falls flat on his face--decides to kick the football! Unfortunately for him, when he tried to kick it, there were two Panthers six inches in front of him. The ball hit one, the other picked it up, and ran it in for the score. WR Mom (I never did get their name) and I just looked at each other like, are you kidding me? No wonder they're 0-8.

I can't leave it without describing halftime. For me, a big part of the fun of going to a high school game are the marching bands at halftime. This week? Ugh. Parkview's band was technically proficient, but the show was boring--the worst show I've ever seen from a Parkview band. I was very disappointed. The Meadowcreek band was, if you can believe it, worse than their football team. First off, you have to understand that their band was something else I had never seen in Gwinnett County--a show band. What I mean by that is, a band like you would see in the movie Drumline--drum majors in tall fuzzy hats, dancing, blatting tubas, and so forth. Usually, I dig show bands. I love the moves and the music. It's like a festival. Unfortunately, this was the worst show band I have ever seen. It was also the smallest. I counted maybe--maybe--45 horns. The drumline, the foundation of any good show band, consisted of three basses, two field toms, one quad (one!), and one snare! One! How do you have a drumline with one snare in a show band? And God, they were awful. I don't ever expect proficient playing from a high school show band, but this was truly awful. Easily one of the worst high school bands I've ever seen, and following on the heels of a lackluster Parkview performance to boot. Halftime was a disappointment. Of course, both bands kicked ass in the stands, but on the field, not so much. They tried hard, and the crowd seemed to be into it, but I was hoping for more.

So all in all it was a decent night. The bands weren't all that, but Parkview won a game that was fun to watch, if a bit boring after halftime. I went by Waffle House on the way home and got some grilled cheese sandwiches and Bert's Chili to warm myself up, then called Darlene to talk me home. Definitely a good way to end the evening. I got my high school football jones in for the fall, and welcomed in autumn in the best way I know how--by going to a football game and cheering for Big Orange. Nothing like high school football on a Friday night.

I'm going to bed.

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