Editorial: Tradition, pageantry returning

Aug. 21, 2014 @ 11:00 PM

Priorities change through the years. Football was once king on Friday nights in many places. Today, it is but another entertainment option.

Still, opening night remains special. While fall sports teams have been getting seasons going all week, this evening will mark the more community-minded and revenue-generating start unique to the gridiron.

Fields are in their best shape. For the most part, so are most of the teams. They’ve yet to play a game, and the only bangs, bruises and injuries are from practices and a couple of scrimmages.

We hope plans are to be somewhere tonight. We’ve provided a special section in today’s newspaper to help throughout the season.

From Murphy to Manteo. the rat-a-tat-tat of a percussion line’s cadence is among the unmistakable sounds we anticipate hearing. Whistles will blow, coaches will yell and supporters will watch through team-specific tunnel vision.

Games past will be recalled in the grandstands as we chat between plays. The rivalries and spirit never fully die.

There’s an intoxicating aroma in the air for the die-hard prep football fan.

We’re not necessarily talking about being close to the hot and battered players — though the funk of sweat-laden uniform and pads is distinct. But the settings we go to year after year have their own freshness or lack thereof, and there’s a unique connection to our senses.

Wafting from a building near the grandstands are more teasers. There are many ways to get popcorn, even from a microwave, but there’s something different when it comes from the popper at a stadium. The hot dogs and chili, the nachos and cheese, or maybe cracking open some peanuts may not be on our daily wish lists, but they’re musts when we visit the stadiums and ballparks.

The colors are rich. We adore ours, no matter the shade, and we don’t care for theirs.

Whatever happened in past seasons matters none. Tonight, a new group, a new team will go forth for their schools. Support will follow them.

There remains, with this longtime tradition, a place for all of us.