I’ll admit, at first it didn’t make sense to me why we would attend Findlay High School football games. We currently have no affiliation with any of the players on the high school football team and truly I’m typically a fair-weather fan, in general.
I’m just not that into sports. I sold my student football tickets at Ohio State a few weekends a year, I attended high school football games while a student at Findlay High mostly for the social aspect, and I didn’t grow up watching football on TV with my parents or friends. We don’t even know many of the band members of the Findlay Trojan Marching Band.
So, why is it that every week there is a home football game at Donnell Stadium we take our five and four year olds as well as our 7 month old with us and we brave the stands in all kinds of weather just to watch our local Trojans? It is probably not because the Findlay Trojans are a phenomenal football team, and it’s not because we’re alumni.
We go to Findlay High School home football games because we enjoy the reverie of each stage of our Friday nights under the lights. We love gathering at a friend’s home nearby around 5:30 p.m. to eat a simple potluck meal, together. We love gearing-up for whatever weather we may be expecting (or not expecting, since we live in Ohio) and walking down the street to the stadium. We’re always hopeful we’ll stay warm and dry enough, and it’s a joy watching our boys take-in all there is to see. It’s fun to allow our boys to get excited along with the students and the fans as we enter the stadium.
As the lights surrounding the stadium flicker on, our oldest watches the band in absolute awe and it’s probably the only time our wild, middle child sits still. The baby claps his hands as they announce the football team and they enter their stadium with a roar behind a tiny wall of cheerleaders sprinting full-speed while they release tens of royal blue and yellow balloons into the evening sky. We do our best to take a moment to teach our children to be quiet and respectful as the crowd sings their alma mater and our national anthem. My husband attempts to explain some of the game to the boys, but mostly he corrects them on “which color” we should show our support for. That’s how they see these nights, I think. The see the pregame unfold the game in colors.
We attend the games with the same group of family and friends and the ritual is the most laid-back and family-fun way to kick-off our fall weekends. If nothing else, we take these few hours at the start-off the weekend to reconnect with those we hold dear, to say hello to those we haven’t seen in some time or whom we see each week, and we envision our boys as they grow into little men who will eventually join the Findlay Trojans. They may be a band member, they may be a fellow fan in the stands, or they may take-up this football player thing and I’ll have to become an all-weather fan in our not-so-distant future. Regardless, I think every local family should start out their weekends under the lights at Donnell Stadium in the fall. It’s a safe, fun, and family-friendly way to end a busy week of work and school in Findlay, Ohio.