Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer.

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High School Football

By Milt Abel | September 4, 2011

| September 4, 2011

I live in a small town and the Friday night high school football game is a big to-do. It’s not like Texas, where high school football is a religion and visiting teams don’t have God on their side, but most of the town goes to the game, and it’s the topic of causal conversation everywhere from the grocery store to the dentist. Though, dentist  conversations can be one-sided; how they can understand the gurgling yawl from their patients is something that must be taught in dental school.  I can see Berlitz’ Dental Work to English dictionaries being thumbed being sold at the campus bookstore.

This past Friday was the first game of the season. Before school opened for the fall; they opened up the stands and brought in the marching band, cheerleaders and boosters, and had a home game. The opponent was a perennial powerhouse, Jesuit. It’s a private Catholic school, and the rumor -somewhat founded, is that they recruit their athletes. They can dangle a scholarship to a private high school; if the next Payton Manning can work out the commute, a financial need for ‘assistance’ can be found. My wife is fond of quoting an Oregonian sports columnist who said, “Portland had three professional teams; the Trailblazers, the Timberwolves, and Jesuit.”

Canby High School is no slouch itself. They’ve been in the hunt for the state championship of the 6A (largest school attendance) division several times in my decade here. A couple years ago they made it to the semi-final game, playing for a birth in the state championship game for a retiring head coach. It would have made a great storyline for him to go out with a state championship, but the opposing team wasn’t the least bit sentimental about it all, and whooped us.

My interest in the games this season will be high and sincere, my son plays fullback. He’s pretty good and has some athletic gifts; fastest on the team (as was I when I played running back) and strong, and fearlessly aggressive. Motivation is a separate issue altogether; he was denied playing in the fist half of this game because of being tardy to practice. How a teenager with nothing to do all summer can be late to anything is a testament to his ability to distract himself.

So he had to watch, like I did. It was an exciting game for the first ten minutes, then Canby started making mistakes and Jesuit cleaned up on them like the professionals they were. Their entire team looked bigger, stronger and faster; and they played that way as well. My wife was out of town so I took it upon myself to be sportscaster, and texted her each development. It was a lot of fun to do this, until I got tired of texting, ‘Jesuit scored again.’ Near the end of the first half she texted me, ‘Canby needs to send in our son!’ I replied, “What Canby needs is scholarships.’

I was sitting by myself, texting away when a couple late arrivers took some seats on the stairway next to me: a husband and wife who soon showed themselves to be Jesuit fans by their self-satisfied chuckles. That really pissed me off, but I held my tongue. It felt as if a lion had come into the stands in the ancient coliseum, sat upright and began laughing over how easily Christians could be gored. At least my son was still waiting on the sidelines. I moved to another location before their was blood.

In Canby’s first offense play of the second half my son was in. He did good job, but would have done better if he had the whole game at his disposal. He has since promised me he will be on-time for practice this week and play more his coming Friday. I hope so. The team needs him.

The final score was Jesuit 67 Canby 35. I texted ‘Jesuit scored again’ a lot. There’s a joke I used in my stand-up act when I perform right after a major sporting event, and the entire audience is aware of a very lopsided score.
“The game was close… until it got started.”

Topics: comedy, humor | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “High School Football”

  1. Rick Maier Says:
    September 4th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Just some minor editing for the future… Trail Blazers (2 words), Timbers and Crusaders. Maybe Crushaders? I attended the game also…I always stand on the visitors side…near the action. I was impressed with Noah’s warmup routine prior to the 2nd half. Maybe they’re saving him for league games??

  2. Milt Abel Says:
    September 4th, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks for the edit suggestions. I’m a horrible proof-reader, and pretty weak in karate too; so if you are ever in a viscous fight with some Asian publishers, don’t count on me to add anything worthwhile. Noah sat out the first half because he was late to practice a couple times. discipline.

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