As an individual progresses through life’s formative stages, few opportunities present the possibilities for personal enrichment as numerous as high school football. Whether as a participating player, fan, parent or coach, there are enlightening lessons to be obtained in sportsmanship, community pride, maturity and empathy, to name a few. The role of impacting character development, social skills, and interpersonal relationships in adolescents are akin in theoretical analogy to components of the game.
In the role of a high school football player, Teenagers are exposed to a diversity of human personalities. Aggressive and assertive coaches, compassionate parents, and ardent team mates that hold them accountable for their actions, expand the scope of experience from that of a Child to a Young Adult. A level of maturity is cumulatively impressed upon the player via a number of successes and failures, actions and reactions. Violent and aggressive by nature, high school football teaches acceptable behavioral patterns within the context of a well defined arena, with inappropriate actions sanctioned. The valuable life lesson of facing adversity directly and conquering challenges as both an individual and as part of a collective group are components in asserting one’s inner strength.
Many small, and often times, not so small communities figuratively live and die each week with the ascension or decline of their local high school football team. Community socialization within parental peer groups may become intertwined with the quality of play on the football field. High school football is extraordinarily special in it’s ability to polarize the identity and focus of a singular community. Although seemingly insignificant to an outsider, a successful high school football team commands a special place of honor in the memories of local historians, with no doubt embellished stories passed for generations.
In the perspective of a parent, teacher, coach or other adult immersed in associated high school football activities, the mentor-student relationship is a valuable reward in and of itself. The impact of assisting the formation of positive character traits in young people will have an effect on societal mores and values for the betterment and prosperity of all concerned. A teacher or coach may often revitalize a fading career, and return to the basic enthusiasm of what initially drew them to the profession.
What is so special about high school football? All of the aforementioned points and many, many more. However without the concerted effort and energy of all involved parties, it would become just another Friday Night.