It was very moving for me to see Najee Story a DE from my Alma Mater Solon commit to Northwestern (he'll be a senior). No doubt Coach Fitz needed him and he'll showcase his talent in the Big 10! Also Euclid WR / CB Armond Scott say "It's Kentucky for me"! Senior to be Scott is ready to be a Stoops boy and rock the SEC as they await this Panther (also senior to be).
It hit me even more that this is not a new excitement level for NE Ohio but the "what if" also hit me. HS Football means a lot and I will let it go at that. Communities, schools, families, friends and neighbors wait for the games now on Thursday, Friday, Saturday afternoon and evening. As far back as I can remember my Dad would come home from the plant, have dinner and hoist the Press looking at the HS Football schedule! We lived in Slavic Village so THE TEPEE at Cuyahoga Hts. was a a great place to watch a game as well as at John Adams, West Tech and John Marshall! Dad would choose a game by a player "he had to see"! This is nothing new as the crowds at HS games attest to the fact interest has NOT waned. Think of the names of players past and present plus the legions of legendary coaches who prowled the sidelines! Yesterday would have been Augie Bossu's 103rd Birthday and I was blessed to have the last interview with him. Talk football? Heck no...he wanted to talk about his pride and joy...Benedictine, his family at home and from the Home of Champions and his tomato plants! Players from Solich, Shateen, Jones, Zelina, Mandich, Ginn Jr, Robert Smith and Troy Smith, Childress, Lattimore and even MORE still live in our souls and I can go ON AND ON!
The sport still looms larger than life today and it so cool to see sons of friends playing and reppin' where their Dad's and Uncles played. We talk more than Friday night lights...but those games are still the marquee match ups whether played at the Madhouse on Madison, Bedord Bearcat Stadium or the JTO! I know we love the Friday night games but there is also something special about having a game in the Fall on a Saturday afternoon on Aldersyde Drive in Shaker Hts as the Red Raiders still do not have lights, I must also shout out the Cleveland Browns for the assistance they have given schools, especially in the Senate and Lorain with their fields and yes a moment of silence for the grandeur of George Daniels Field in Lorain...still standing proud and no doubt they do not make them like that any more!
Talk about Home Field Advantage and almost losing it! A few years back the JOHN HAY HORNETS made the state playoffs and they were going to play Ravenna, a playoff tested team. The game was slated to be at the COLLINWOOD ATHLETIC COMPLEX and some "PC Sissies" (yes I said it) tried to get the game moved. I had a few chats with the late BIG JACK Leonard Jackson who was the Senate AD at the time and he asked me a simple question.."would I be at the game." I made sure to be the first one in line when the gates opened in my Green and Yellow Hornets sweatshirt...on E. 152nd in Collinwood!
We know what the unthinkable would be and YES we need to stay safe and healthy...so I will not say it but hope to see you at DOWED FIELD, BYERS FIELD, EUCLID COMMUNITY STADIUM, STEWART FIELD (yes some of my cleat marks may still be somewhere in that facility), JOHN MARSHALL FIELD and more this Fall. Am I dreaming? If so do NOT wake me up.