Tonight it is back to chain gang duty. We got the week off last week and just got to watch the boys crash into each other like gladiators fighting for position.
My son is a high school senior playing varsity football and yes as a serial volunteer I was conscripted again this year to serve on the chain gang for home games and pre-season scrimmages. The team has been doing well this year averaging about 30 points a game so there is lots of action running up and down the sidelines with the “sticks” to mark first down territory.
Upside: there is no better place to watch the action then 2 yards back from the sideline, you get to hear the collisions, the plays being called and signaled, the up close thrill as your son’s team makes that first down, or the big tackle, the touchdowns, the defensive stops, run backs on special teams.
The downside: you can’t cheer because you are walking up and down the opposing team’s sideline, you have to listen to the opposing coaches cheer and the team rant enthusiastically whenever “they” make a good play. However when your team is down in near the end zone with yards, feet or inches to go, you can lay down the “sticks” and whisper a bit louder “punch it in boys”! Then you can cheer quietly and give a high-five to the chain gang crew when the boys listen to you and score!!
Kickoffs and pass plays can be tricky as large bodies run towards the sticks on your sideline, you drop the sticks and step back quickly trying to get out of the way of flying runner, blockers and tacklers.
The time for the Chain Gang to shine though is during that near first down, you pick up your sticks and run with the officials to the center of the field to make that all important measure resulting in the “thrill of victory” – first down for your side or the “agony of defeat” – missed by one inch 😦
We don’t get paid, we volunteer, we are close to the action, we get to see the sweat fly off the boys – we are the Chain Gang, volunteering does not get much better than this.