Almost 20 years later and I’m sitting in a high school parking lot chowing down on gas station hot dogs, Funyuns, and Fudge Rounds waiting out the Lakota West versus West Clermont football game.
A game mired in a lightning delay this past Friday.
I sit in my car staring out the windshield as the rain blurred lettering of Lakota West mounted on the school facade replays a DeJa’Vu from a year ago.
Lakota West saw a lightning delay in Week 2 last season as well, and I sat in the press box for what seemed an eternity waiting it out. And with the limited number of tickets available last season due to the Covid-19 restrictions, I was slightly demurred by the scant crowd. It was odd.
It didn’t feel natural and it didn’t feel like a Friday night, but then again nothing in 2020 felt natural.
Driving into West Chester this evening as the rain and lightning played peek-a-boo, I was reminded of that short-lived stint in the Lakota West press box. The game was ultimately postponed until the next morning, and since my day job requires my attendance on most Saturday mornings, I was unable to watch what happened.
I didn’t get to see a Lakota West team in its home opener beat conference opponent Hamilton. I didn’t get to see what a small crowd home field advantage looked like. Last season, I like many others didn’t get to see that game.
But this past Friday, I want to see this game — lightning delays be damned. Early morning alarms for this working stiff be damned.
I want to watch football.
I sat in this parking lot and hoped against the detriment of my sleep and my sleepiness on Saturday that this year’s game gets played. Covid-19 had already snarled itself around the state with a slew of game cancellations this past week, cancelling Lakota West’s bout against West Clermont because of weather would feel like a field goal off the cross bar as time expired.
An ending no one wants.
Mother nature cooperated, and I got my wish. The Firebirds prevailed, the clouds parted, the lightning stopped and football commenced.
Friday night football won out.
Covid-19 wouldn’t stop the game and gray clouds of electricity couldn’t stop the game.
Loud student sections casting shade at the other, the smell that only a concession stand has, and dodging teenagers as I make my way to the press box are just a few things that 2020 took from us — and me.
I missed all that last season, but tonight I got to see and experience it all. I’m still good at dodging teenagers by the way.
It’s amazing that it took a rubbery overcooked gas station hot dog with a bag of Funyuns and a fudge round to remind me of what I missed and what I was grateful for.
I am grateful I was able to watch a game this past week and will be grateful if I get to again next week.
Tonight I sleep grateful for bad hot dogs, massive fudge rounds, and high school football.