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South Dakota Football Championships Bring Nostalgia

High School Football
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

It was a long trip for a boy the age of twelve.  The destination was the Dakotadome in Vermillion for a South Dakota High School Championship football game between the Webster Bearcats and the Wagner Red Raiders.

To make the journey meant hopping a pep bus full of eager students all ready to cheer the team to victory.  Just getting to the bus wasn’t as simple as you might think.  Trips to town from the farm were precious and there was one time scheduled for departure right after lunch.  With a couple of hours to whittle away, a twelve-year old boy needs to bide time at the bowling alley where the lure of the latest video game awaited.

Care was taken to allow enough time to meet up with the bus and budget my expenses to leave funds for supper.  So after a few quarters spent, my feet needed to get moving for a three-quarter mile hike to the school.  A fresh snow had fallen that morning, but sidewalks weren’t that messy.

By the time I reached the school, the first of three busses had arrived.  However, my path took me to the east side of the school and the busses were loading on the west side.  East side doors were locked!  Time had arrived to think and move quickly, so around the school I went.  Being the upstanding citizen that I was, it wouldn’t be right to trespass on school property immediately adjacent to the building.  I went around the perimeter, which meant another half-mile of hoofing.  This stretch did not have sidewalks so the freshly fallen snow became a little less appealing and more apparent to my footwear.

My guardian angel came to rescue me as the last quarter mile arrived.  One of the busses that was to carry passengers to the title game used to pick me up on my route when I was in Kindergarten.  She stopped, ordered me to climb aboard and took me the rest of the way.  Wow!  I went from potentially missing the trip to being first on the bus.  However, I still had to confirm my arrival at the school with the pep bus coordinator so my lot in life became cemented when I got back on the bus with few open seats left and I had to plop down next to someone two years older than me.  After the “Oh Jeeze!” from my elder who had no other choice but to slide over, away we went.

Eventually, the football game was played.  I had enough money for supper.  Maybe I could have gotten a commemorative t-shirt while at the dome.  My team lost that day.  At least my feet dried out.

DP

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