Saturday, October 2, 2010

Go Big Maroon!


Well, I was born in a small town. And I live in a small town. Prob'ly die in a small town. Oh, those small communities... 

It's October in Red Bud, IL. Chances are if you're driving into town on any given Friday night you may start to wonder if the entire city didn't just pack up and leave on a moments notice. The single red flashing light in the town square blinks monotonously, the street lamps stand tall, burning brightly for no one, and the chilly night breeze is the only sound that can be heard, rustling through the limbs of the tree-lined avenues.

You keep driving, looking for any sign of life. And suddenly you begin to hear an echoey sort of noise bouncing off of the surrounding sun-baked brick buildings. You roll down your windows and follow that sound down Locust Street, wondering where this dark deserted road is taking you. Suddenly a nuclear light begins to emerge out of the darkness, and you distinctly hear a gruff male voice booming, "That gives the Red Bud Musketeers a FIRST DOOOWN!!" And is that...are you hearing...cowbells?


Oh, yes, it's a night of high school football in a small town. The Musketeers are on the loose, but they're not storming the streets of Paris brandishing swords; they're charging their way down the 20 yard line. There is nothing more electric than sitting beneath the buzz of the fluorescents, the scent of popcorn wafting on the breeze, the cracking sound of clashing helmets punctuating the milling conversations.


...Educated in a small town. Taught to fear Jesus in a small town. Used to daydream in that small town. Another born romantic that's me...

I have to admit, I don't even care about football normally. The Robert family considers a good heated political debate the sporting event of the season, and we know nothing about fouls and field goals...in fact, we often argue about the rules, even when neither of us is sure we're right. I told you, we just like a good debate! We have no desire whatsoever to rush out and buy tickets to an NFL game, but give us a good night of Red Bud High School football, and we're so there. Evelyn loves it! Maybe she'll change our family tree and become an athlete. :)



There's just something different about football in a rural community. Everything revolves around the game of course, but it's much more than that. It's about girlfriends getting together after school and crowding around a single mirror to do their hair and makeup. It's about expectant teenagers trying to find a strategic spot in the bleachers to get a clear shot of their latest crush. It's about hauling a bbq grill in the back of a pickup truck and tailgating with friends. It's about the littles running around freely beneath the risers while their alumni parents socialize. It's the band kids and the cheerleaders and the fans. It's so high school. And maybe the parents get so into it because, for a few brief hours, they're able to live vicariously through their children again.

And when it's the homecoming game...well...nothing beats the homecoming game! Every ego is on the line. And the Red Bud Musketeers have not been disappointing this season. I can now officially say, as of tonight, that we are 6-0! Woot!


...Well I was born in a small town. And I can breath in a small town. Gonna die in this small town, and that's prob'ly where they'll bury me.

In the afterglow of a nail biting game, when the parking lots jam up and the only thing left in the bleachers is some stale popcorn, you feel as if you've just participated in something really special. It's community. It's camaraderie. It's knowing that no matter who the person that was standing next to you is voting for next month, or what car they drive, or which area of town they happen to live in, on this night everyone wore maroon and white. 

So here's three cheers for the Red Bud Musketeers! You can bet your cleats that a night of football will keep the streets of this city cleared for a long time to come.  




*Special thanks to John Mellenkamp for guest blogging with me today.* :)

6 comments:

Eric Robert said...

Hi palsy -- great job on this one! It's one of your best!

Christine Pettijohn said...

I love this one!!! Good job Adrien!!

Anonymous said...

Another enjoyable piece of writing.

Thanks from Greg & Joan

Melissa Cheek said...

I loved it! Good job, you had me tearing up on that one!

Anonymous said...

Very good with one error. Joe and I were at the game and the score was actually 3-0.
You are an excellent writer and I look forward to it.

Adrien said...

Hehe, you're right, that was the score at the homecoming game. A close one! 6-0 is the team's winning record! (They have won six out of six games!)

Thanks for reading, everyone! This was a fun one to write!

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