enjoying the ride

rofblogpicIt’s kind of amazing to think it’s been four months since we introduced “The Republic of Football: Legends of the Texas High School Game” to the world at the Texas High School Coaches Association’s annual Coaching School in San Antonio. I’ve had so much fun speaking with people about this book and I’ve been humbled by how well it’s done so far and the things people have said about it so far.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to the journalism classes at Midway, where I attended high school in the mid-1990s. One of the classes was the Panther Post staff, which meant that I got to speak to the students who were sitting in the seats where I sat for three years of high school. To talk with those students and see the interest and enthusiasm in them was possibly the most rewarding thing I’ve been able to experience since I began promoting “The Republic of Football.” I read them the first part of the introduction, which describes how I felt when I went on my first assignment as sports editor of the Panther Post to introduce myself to Coach Kent Bachtel. I told the Panther Post staff “Look, I’m not trying to be profound here. I didn’t write this because I knew I would be speaking with you here today. This is an honest expression of how much being a high school journalist taught me and how much I’ve carried those lessons I learned with me.”

I also told them that I first wanted to write a book after I read “Friday Night Lights” when I was in middle school and that’s the sincere truth.

And now, the productive part of the rest of my week will be spent in high school stadium press boxes covering the opening round of the high school football playoffs for the Waco Trib. This season has stoked my excitement for high school football, obviously because I’ve been promoting my book. But also because I have renewed appreciation for the place that high school football holds in the sports spectrum.

High school football is the team in town that we can all pull for.

High school football keeps our expectations in check.

High school football is where we start to see great players emerge. But, more importantly, we see them in the context of a great team (or we probably won’t be seeing them much longer as the playoffs are a survive-and-advance business).

So here’s my pitch: the high school football playoffs offer the most fun-per-dollar of any sport out there. If you have a team, I hope they keep playing right up until Christmas. If you don’t have a team, I strongly advise adopting one.

And if you’ll pick up “The Republic of Football” and read it as the playoffs progress the next six weeks, I believe it will be a good primer.

Here’s the best place to order it: utexaspress.com

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