Tradition and excitement run deep in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys each year as August winds its way into September. Consider:
ÔÅì Students from pre-kindergarten through graduate school return to classrooms, eager to learn and reconnect with friends and mentors.
ÔÅì Hundreds of thousands flock to the midways, animal barns, exhibition halls and grandstand shows to make the Canfield Fair one of the largest county agricultural exhibitions in the nation.
ÔÅì Tens of thousands of Mahoning Valley residents stampede into stadiums large and small to revive the exhilarating passion of competitive high school football.
But while the allure of the new school year wears off fairly fast and the flashy midways of the Canfield Fair go dark after six short days, the excitement and fascination with high school football only builds in intensity, interest and energy over the next three months.
We join fans throughout the region in wishing their hometown teams success in their quest for championship titles. The Vindicator/Vindy.com and its beefy team of Blitz reporters and photographers will be watching virtually every move on the gridiron as play gets underway in Week 1 of the 2013 season Thursday night.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL’S SIGNIFICANCE
We’re eagerly awaiting another season chock full of ups, downs, thrills and chills with high-intensity impact on players, coaches, schools, fans and communities alike.
And why shouldn’t we? High school football has become a Friday-night lights tradition in the Valley for many good reasons.
For players, the game builds respect, loyalty, responsibility, self-discipline, sportsmanship and cooperation
For schools, the game builds revenue for athletic and other programs while helping to cement school spirit.
For communities, it builds identity and can boost self-esteem. It also provides many opportunities for local businesses to cash in and prosper from football fever.
But at the same time, high school football is also serious business with potentially serious consequences. That’s why Ohio has rightly joined many other states this year in better monitoring injuries — particularly concussions — to players that could wield lifelong repercussions. A law that has gone into effect this year mandates that student athletes and parents sign a promissory note that they will contact coaches, school administrators and health-care providers whenever an injury occurs. That’s wise protection and policy for such a rough and tumble sport as football.
DON’T MISS BLITZ
But now it’s time to get ready to rumble. For starters, don’t miss the 52-page special Blitz football preview section in this Sunday’s Vindicator. Previews and more also will be included on the vindy.com/blitz/ website. Carry your smart phone to your games next weekend and use Blitz to keep up to date on the ups and downs of your team’s competitors. Then each week, look forward to a new Blitz section in your Vindicator and fresh updates at Blitz online.
And don’t miss expanded high-school football coverage every Saturday in the Vindicator through the championship season in December.
The Vindicator recognizes the value, importance and passion behind high school football in the Mahoning Valley to its players, fans, schools and communities. That’s why we’ll be putting on our A game over the next three months to provide the best and most comprehensive coverage for our proud football- frenzied region.