Peg and I sat in our warm cabin on the Osage County, Oklahoma prairie recently and watched the live stream of the state high school semi-final football game between the Pawhuska Huskies and the Cashion Wildcats. Thank you www.kpgmtv.com!
It is not that we are only fair-weather fans; we have enjoyed attending the Huskies games in person since we moved from Posey County, Indiana to Osage County, Oklahoma two football seasons ago. However, this state semi-final match was played on a neutral field about 70 miles from our home so we opted for armchairs. It was still an exciting game, final score 35-31.
And while we truly appreciated the free live-feed, there were parts of the game that may have slipped our attention. So, if my observations are not 100% accurate, that is my excuse. That said, as Fareed Zakaria might say, “here’s my take” on the game.
The opening ceremonies affirmed both schools’ commitment to all that is good about high school sports. Then the hard-hitting play that followed had to make both fan bases proud. Neither team ever let up from an all-out effort on offense, defense and special teams. There were few penalties and none for unnecessary roughness, late hits, unsportsman’s-like conduct or taunting. There was no taunting, only two fiercely competitive groups of finely disciplined and talented, well raised and well coached young players. The game could be used in civic classes as an example of why high school sports are an important component of education.
These players likely all started in the summer of 2021 with two-a-day practices and sacrificed fun times for sweat and misery to be ready for this 48 minutes. High goals were set and achieved. Most significantly those goals included giving their best, not just in the game of football but in their examples of how sports can help mold character. It was unquestionable that each player on both teams wanted to win. However, Peg and I saw several players from both teams help their opponents up and even pat their adversaries on the back during the game. There were no fights or shouting matches or claims of bad calls. Football for football’s sake was the standard.
As a graduate of Pawhuska High School, I was gratified by the lessons these players so obviously had learned. The same would have been true had I gone to Cashion. So, thank you to the parents, coaches and teachers who set these young people on the right track and thank you to the players for a great game.