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How many high school football traditions can you spot?

September 30, 2011 | 11:36 am

Danejohnson Over the years I've had the opportunity to experience high school football all over America.  It's been amazing to see all the various levels, variations and renditions of this great American tradition.  Speaking of tradition, THAT may be the one constant I experienced where ever I went.  You see, high school football is a series of one tradition after another, and it doesn't appear to have changed much over time!   

When I close my eyes for a minute and do a quick inventory of some of the rich memories I still have of those glorious days on the gridiron (that's what we used to call the field back in the day!), it seems that almost all of them are somehow tied to a tradition. 

Beginning at the end of summer with "hell week", football becomes a continuous parade of traditions.  "Up-before-dawn" workouts, pancake breakfasts, cheerleaders putting up posters (and giving players homemade chocolate chip cookies), pep rallies, pregame meals, marching bands, students wearing school colors, car windows painted, parents at the stadium early to get "their seats", pregame locker room speeches (I learned some new words during some of these!), running through the huge banner held by cheerleaders.... and THAT guy.... falling as he ran through the banner, captains holding hands as they meet in the middle of the field for the coin flip, helmets raised for the opening kick-off (I'll never forget the hair standing on the back of my neck as I sprinted down that field for the first time), post game handshakes, celebrations and commiseration,  huddles with teammates and hugs from your girl, watching the game video and eating pizza.....and then the feelings of anticipation as we start the whole thing all over again on Monday!  These traditions and others too numerous to mention, are all a part of the fabric of American high school football.

One tradition I especially enjoy, is the pregame playing or singing of the National Anthem.  It's the one time of the week, when seemingly everyone is on the same page.  Opposing players, coaches, referees and fans rise to their feet, and for a brief moment.....agree, that we are grateful to live in America, a country rich in tradition, and blessed to have high school football! 

See you at the stadium!

Oh yeah, tonight at the game....take a minute and see how many traditions you can spot.

--Dane Johnson

The Times is pleased to have Dane Johnson blogging his thoughts on high school football throughout the season. Johnson, a football coach at San Dimas High, has been a football coach for more than 20 years in the San Gabriel Valley and is also a pastor at Christ's Church of the Valley . You can connect with him on Twitter @PastorDaneJ.
Photo: Dane Johnson. Credit: Dane Johnson.