Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Broadus To Farson, And No Ketchup

End Of Game by mdt1960
End Of Game, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
This was a good year in terms of attending small town high school football games in Wyoming and Montana—better than the last two anyway. When it comes to the title game weekend—the last weekend of the season—there is a certain bittersweetness about it all. Despite the anxiety and excitement of that last game, being on the road for eleven of the thirteen weekends that constitute Wyoming and Montana high school football can take its toll on a guy, especially if he’s juggling a full-time job on the side. I’d put it right up there with finishing a marathon (and yes, I have run a marathon).

For the record, I covered 5,623 miles in those eleven weekends. That comes out to 511 miles per weekend. Given there were some years when I covered more ground while other years were less, it’s safe to say this was probably a pretty “normal” year of travel. As one of my colleagues once told me, “That’s a lot of windshield time.”

On a related note, despite their nearly identical distances from my hometown of Powell, Wyoming, why did it seem that Broadus, Montana (261 miles away) was so much farther than Farson, Wyoming (258 miles away)?

Of course those last games of the playoffs also translate into more night-time driving thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time. During those times, I usually don’t get too far down the road from that Saturday venue before I’m pulling over and calling it a night from the comforts of my car and sleeping bag. My eyes aren’t what they used to be. And, it seems like there’s more big pickups pulling heavy trailers than ever—none of which have adjusted their headlights to their loads (does anyone even do that anymore?). Yet, after that last game, there’s something in me that just wants to get home, despite the excessive darkness and bright oncoming headlights... along with a little voice that says, “C’mon, you can drive in the darkness just this one time.”

Now the season is a memory, and the days keep getting shorter. With no more six-man or eight-man games to live for in the near future, these are the bleakest days of the year for me. At least until December 22 when the days start getting longer again. And, when I stop to think about it, that’s a pretty short period of “downtime” in the course of a year. Perhaps I’ll try increasing my intake of ketchup (with its “natural mellowing agents”) as the commercial on NPR’s Prairie Home Companion suggests.

I’ve already been thinking about next year. Because it has been so long, perhaps I really should try to attend a Wyoming playoff game, but not the title game at that behemoth stadium in Laramie… that’s no place for small town high school football! The semi-final perhaps would be best. Hopefully there will be some good match ups instead of rematches. If a Wyoming playoff game does materialize for me, it’ll be a huge sacrifice given the excitement and drama of the Montana C-8 and C-6 playoffs.

I've got the wheels to ride and the wheels to run,
Some say I got ramblin' in my blood
No pretty girl can slow me down
I'll travel 'till my country home is found…
—“Traveling Song” by The Avett Brothers

Postscript: I’d like to tell you that I meticulously recorded the mileage and other details of each trip, but the truth of the matter is I used distancescalculator.com.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love reading your recaps of small town football. I've only ever seen a handful of Montana or wyoming games.

Saw Jordan-Lambert/Richey and Grass Range/Winnett-Rosebud a few years ago. Also saw Kaycee-Meteetsee at Kaycee and Buffalo-Riverton later the same day.

If you're interested in seeing picks of other games around the country, you can view my flickr account (I have pics of every game I've been to for the past few years, including those WY & Montana games).


Thanks. And keep up the postings. Very much enjoy it throughout the season. And sorry to hear that it appears someone is plagiarizing you with that other book. It is a shame.