Archive for Wednesday, November 10, 1999

Friday night lights ready for change in tradition

From the sidelines

November 10, 1999

Traditiooon . . . Tradition!

Before I jump on the roof of the Mirror's downtown office and begin playing my fiddle, I'd like to make it clear that I love traditions.

The banners hanging overhead in Allen Field House fill the old building with the whispers of squeaking sneakers, shouting coaches and famous players flashing to the basket in the imagination of KU basketball fans.

The prancing band, flashing horns and blaring rendition of the Wabash Cannonball raise goose bumps on the arms of K-State football fans.
The smoke wafting from the booster club's grill, the band and the full stands tinge Friday nights all fall with the same excitement and tradition.

But maybe it's time for the tradition of Friday night football, the "Friday night lights," to give way to a more inclusive schedule.
The Tonganoxie soccer and volleyball teams would benefit from an occasional game in "prime time" 7 p.m. on Friday night when no other games are scheduled.

The football team could play two games during the season on Thursday night or Saturday afternoon.

Don't get me wrong I love football. I have wonderful memories of playing in front of a packed stadium.

And it's not the Tonganoxie football team. The players and coaches came out every week and left their blood, sweat and tears on the turf at Beatty Field.

But imagine the advantage the volleyball team would have in a gymnasium packed with the same fans who fill the bleachers.

Imagine the soccer team making runs at the opponent's goal with more fans cheering them on instead of playing in relative obscurity.

The band could march at halftime of the soccer game. The booster club could grill hamburgers and hot dogs.

And a change in scheduling would give high school students in other sports a chance to compete for a bigger home town crowd.

Admittedly there might be challenges in scheduling opposition. And it's hard to change traditions. But new activities have a way of sneaking up and taking hold of a community's imagination until they too are traditions.

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