Sometimes I wish everyone had the opportunity to live in a small town, even for just a while. There may not be the major metroplex amenities, but the sense of community makes up for what we lack in art museums, commerce and professional sports teams. We don’t have a 70,000 seat sports complex, but we do have Pirate football.

Even though there is no need for a sweater yet, for me, fall officially started the other night with the first football game. Every Friday from the end of August until the first part of November half the people we know are at the game. I can learn more at one ball game than reading the local paper for a week.

It’s a good thing I enjoy football and know the difference between a false start and pass interference and a double reverse. Jim was playing college ball when I met him and he went on to coach for a dozen or so years. Travis played junior high, high school, college and arena football. After that Jim officiated. I suppose that’s why I have bleacher indentations on my back side.

Pirate fans are wild and loud. The crazy twin emerges in some adults. For the students it’s an excuse to dress and do things they wouldn’t outside the stadium. Jason’s senior year he borrowed the huge Jolly Roger pirate flag and during half time ran the length of the football field in his black Chuck Taylor high tops and a red and black Speedo. Since he was a swimmer, I guess he thought that was an appropriate way to show support for Travis. Lucky for him, school officials did too.

We spent years in the Booster Club, traveling to games, decorating locker rooms, making scrapbooks, hosting Thursday night meals, and developing a network of friends who cared deeply about our kids. The other night in the middle of all the cow bells, train horn blasts, and excitement I thought about how grateful I was my kids had the opportunity to grow up understanding community. There’s so much more to hometown football than the game on Friday night.

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