Yes, Friday nights give me goosebumps. Good old-fashioned, puckered-up chicken skin. And not because I’m lucky enough to get a pre-game kiss from a tall mug of coaching caramel macchiato. (Although that helps, too), but because boy, can our boys play some ball. And man, can our men coach ‘em up. There is nothing like a good, crisp, spiral-sliced Friday night.
When my husband first got a coaching job in a one-high-school-town I was a bit … unenthused.
A small town? What will we DO? Where will we EAT? How will I hide when I go to the grocery store in my pajamas?
But it didn’t take long to fall in love.
When an offer came a couple years later from the big city, we thought it was a no-brainer. We had to take it, right? It’s a climb up the ladder. So we did.
But we soon realized, the brighter lights came with a price. And as soon as we could, we took the pay-cut and climbed a little bit back down the ladder, back to a small, one-school town.
These are the 5 Reasons Why Small Town Football is Awesome:
The joke goes that if you want to rob the whole town, do it on a fall Friday night, because nobody is going to be home. Unlike the big cities, there’s no Top Golf or Trampoline Park or Main Event. In a small town, there’s basically one event happening on Friday night: the football game. And everyone, I mean everyone, is going to be there.
Not only will they be there, but they will also be decked out in school colors and have their noise-maker in hand. Most of the people in the stands have cheered for this same team their entire life. They bleed (fill in the blank with school colors). They remember when you “won that state championship back in ’95” and when “that running back fumbled the ball in the 4th quarter in ’88.” These fans are invested, hard-core, feverish, which can be challenging sometimes, but will also give you chills when you drive through town and see flags flying from every business window.
The Family Friendly Atmosphere
In the big city, being at the field house is going to be a little more challenging. But when you live down the street from the high school, the field house will be your kids’ second home. Dad can come home during his lunch break and steal a hug from the kids, which is sometimes the only moment they’ll get to see him all day. And unlike big cities, where coaching families might live thirty minutes apart, the kids at small town high schools become each others’ best friends. And co-conspirators.
The Town Isn’t Divided
Don’t get me wrong, I love myself a good rivalry. But when you live in a city divided by school colors, you grow up feeling like half the population is your enemy. When you live in one high school town, the rivals live 20 minutes away, and every member of the community pulses with joint excitement the week of the big game. Rivalries don’t divide the town, they bring it together.
The Friendship with Other Coaches’ Wives
Big cities make it hard for coaches’ wives to connect — not because they don’t want to, but because of proximity. Everyone is spread out. Not everyone can make it to games, and when they do, most wives don’t sit together anyway — they don’t know each other. In small towns, wives work together, go to church together, party-plan together, and have their own reserved section on Friday nights. They are built-in friendships, which is helpful during the season when you all lose your husbands for a few months.
We know big city football pays more and looks good on resumes. But the benefits of small town football can’t be measured in dollar signs or ladder rungs. We love all football, but small town football will always hold a special place in our hearts.