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The Last Word: Why Texans love high school football

"If you don't like it, this may not be the state for you."

AUSTIN, Texas — Each day more than 100 people are added to the Austin metro's population.

This week it was brought to my attention that some of those new residents, and even some old transplants, don't understand or fully appreciate the Texans’ love for a cultural phenomenon – high school football. I know, bless their little hearts.

We all root for an NFL team or two. College football provides fast-paced action and passionate fans.

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But neither of those can compare to the purity of high school football.

You see, a Texan's love for high school sports goes beyond the game. There is a unity there that's unmatched.

We all go to high school, and so we all have access to go to these games that don't cost very much to get into – if you have to pay at all. The games become gathering places for communities.

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Think about all the student involvement – the football team, the AV team, the drill team, the band, the cheerleaders. That's more than half the student population. The jocks, the nerds – popular or unpopular – are all coming together one night a week to make magic happen on the field.

So when those stands are full of moms and dads and grandparents and neighbors cheering on their children, that's more than a game; that's Texas-sized pride.

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After four short years these teenagers are going to enter a world where sometimes they're going to feel like just another number. Most of them won't play or dance or cheer in college, and the odds are even slimmer that they will be professional athletes.

So in Texas, for the four years that our kids get to be stars under the bright lights, we are going to let them be stars. We are going to cheer for them, talk smack about other teams and love high school football.

If you don't like it, this may not be the state for you.


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