Watching episodes of Friday Night Lights this week in Texas made me a little nostalgic about high school football when I was a teenager in North Carolina. The year was 1984, and I was a freshman at Robert B. Glenn High School in Kernersville. In the first game of the season, we “Bobcats” played against the “Eagles” of East Forsyth High School in their stadium. It was there in the stands that I remember meeting, by chance, a teacher named Mrs. Whicker, whom I would later learn taught English and advised the yearbook staff. She was desperately trying to get a few official photographs of the game but was befuddled by the SLR camera around her neck. I offered to help and, to my complete surprise, got to watch the action from the sidelines, a fun beginning to four years as a yearbook photographer.
Generally speaking, I’m not the biggest sports fan in the world. But I loved being a photographer at football games and everything else related to the experiences of high school. Much like being a priest, it was a great privilege to be invited to witness things from a unique perspective, standing in places and beside people whom one might not have encountered otherwise. This is one of my favorite photographs from that first season of high school football as a photographer for the yearbook. That’s Coach Blaney in the middle, our “Coach Taylor” that year.
So let’s write haiku this week about high school sports. The rules are simple: Create one verse with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. If you go beyond that, I’ll have to throw down a penalty flag for an illegal formation. I want to see good sportsmanship, like this:
Coach Blaney, straight-laced,
walks the line, while Coach Lauten
walks onto the field.