Are you ready for some Football?
What equals forty-eight minutes, but really requires three hours; is as exhausting as a marathon; with as much excitement
as a four-year-old on Christmas morning? Celina Football. I've always been a football fan. And I mean a real fan. Not just
a "that's nice honey, what was the score?" fan, either. No. I'm a "what d'ya mean, offsides?" at-the-top-of-my-lungs
fan. But, I must admit, Celina football brings fandom to a whole new level, even for Texas.
Where else do you find a high school stadium filled with more folks than the total population of the town? On a clear
Friday night, I suspect the glow from all the orange in the stands is visible from Belt Line Drive. And it's a good thing,
because otherwise, if you're approaching Celina from anywhere south or west, you might think the town was abandoned.
I had heard that Texas High School Football was different animal, but I was amazed. Yes, the rules are the same, but the
enthusiasm is different--no, downright incredible. They clap, they holler, they jump up and down. They wave stuff and even
cheer with the cheerleaders. No wonder the kids win! It's the way high school football was meant to be, and people come from
all over north Texas.
Now, it is all going to start here, real soon, so you better get ready. First, don't miss Fun Day, it will help you get
into the Bobcat Spirit. Fun Day is where you'll find everything Bobcat so you can start to build your football wardrobe. Around
the square, you'll find every type of apparel imaginable, all in Bobcat Orange and white, plus all kinds of interesting stuff--some
of which are only available at Fun Day. Be sure to bring your checkbook and you might want to wear your shades, since the
orange on that day can be almost blinding.
Next, there's the Quarterback Club. Guys, if you can drag yourself out of bed, be at the high school cafeteria at 5:30
a.m. on Thursday mornings for breakfast and the whole rundown on everything football in Celina. That's the place to meet the
coaches and get the scoop on everything from fundraising, to game plans, to mentoring the players.
I realize that such enthusiasm about football may be strange to some of you who aren't from Texas. It was for me. However,
if you really want to fit in here in Celina, it's something to which you'll need to adapt. Kids here start playing football
practically before they have lost their first tooth. And the cheerleaders? Uniform sizes start with 18 mo. and summer camp
starts with three-year-olds. So, suck it up. From mid-August until almost Christmas, living in Celina means football with
all the trappings, including cheerleaders, marching band (only 30 members strong, but award-winning), and drill team (they're
called Las Gatitas--Spanish for little girl cats).
Now, in order for you to truly enjoy Celina football, here are a few of the rules:
1) Come early--people start saving seats at dawn;
2) Come prepared to make noise, you won't be able to hear yourself think anyway;
3) You might want to wear shades until you get acclimated to the orange;
4) Don't forget to wear orange somewhere on your person--anywhere and/or everywhere, any shade or combination. There will
be an inspection.
Welcome to Celina.
Published in the Celina Record/Star, August 2003
Football Part II
Okay now, be honest, you didn't really think I could tell you everything about Celina football in one column, did you? With
all due respect to athletes, coaches and parents of all other sports, Celina especially loves football. After Friday night,
you've got to be a believer.
Maybe you didn't listen when I said to come early. Now you know. You now realize that the only people who arrive just
in time for kickoff are the ones with reserved seats; so you'll have to be there when the gates open to stake your claim.
And be sure you leave something on the bench to hold it when you go buy popcorn. Nobody'll take your stuff, but the latecomers
(who are really just "on time") will glom onto your seat in a heartbeat.
And don't assume you'll find a seat after halftime. Last week, people only went home early out of pity. Okay, you ask,
how do I get a reserved seat? Have a season ticket. How do you get one? Easy. Someone dies and leaves it to you in his will.
So, it's nearly seven o'clock and you've watched the band practice, the other team arrive, the warm up and the concession
stand open. Now, you'll see Philip walking along the front of the stands waving at you and yelling, "VICTORY LINE!"
That means, leave your seat and line up along the sideline. In a few minutes you'll hear the deafening roar of cleated feet
from the vicinity of the locker room as smoke fills the tunnel. Scream, whistle, holler and high-five the Bobcats as they
run by, then you can go back to your seat.
Now it's game time. Thumbs up for the kickoff (all of them) and get ready to catch a little plastic football when we score.
You have to be on your toes, though, since many of the cheerleaders are also softball players. Don't worry if you miss one,
we score pretty often. When halftime comes, clap for both bands. We're polite in Celina. Where else have you seen fans applaud
when the other team scores?
Now, about those of you who showed up out of uniform. What did I tell you? ORANGE! Personally, I look dead in orange.
Nevertheless, I have chosen it as my new favorite color. After all, this is Celina, and, one of the only places you're allowed
to wear white after Labor Day--especially if you pair it with orange.
Don't despair, since it's fall, every store has something suitable. It doesn't really matter what color it is, as long
as it's orange. Anything from hunter's flame to pale apricot will do.
If you're a purist, you can still get something from the Spirit Store on the square or at the Bobcat Moms table, just
inside the west gate. The Moms are a wonderful group of ladies who support all the athletic teams. They meet on Mondays and
you don't even have to be the mom of a player. They're also the ones who have planted all the bright, new painted signs around
town, marking the homes of the various players, cheerleaders and band members.
Finally, after we win (which we do) pick out your child from among the dozens of little orange shirts swarming about under
the stands and take your teenagers to Fifth Quarter. It's free food, games and stuff for junior and senior high students ONLY.
A fun, safe place for teenagers to unwind with their friends after the game, it's sponsored by various churches in town. On
your way out of the stadium, don't forget to stop by the locker room and greet the team before you head home. Yup, Celina
loves football. Deal with it and welcome to Celina.
Published in the Celina Record/Star, September 2003