Commentary: Friday night lights

Observer sports writer Brian Jenning can be reached at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com

Observer sports writer Brian Jennings can be reached at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com

Walking onto the turf field for my first Blue Knights home football game is something I will never forget. If you want a real high school football experience, come to Southington.

The atmosphere of packed bleachers, cheerleaders, the school band, and blue helmets made me feel like I was a Blue Knight. It made me feel like I was right at home, like I was an alumnus of Southington High School.

After my first full season, it still feels like that.

Coming from a small town like Thomaston, I didn’t graduate from a high school with a senior class that averages over 600 students ever year. My senior class could barely hold 100. Actually, it was less than 100.

Also, the Thomaston Golden Bears didn’t have a football team, which broke my heart. Thomaston was on the verge of combining with one of their rival schools, Terryville High School, for a co-op team, but it never happened.

My only experience of playing football came in my sophomore year of high school when I played for the Waterbury Knights Pop Warner football team. I had multiple roles on the team, as one of the starting quarterbacks, tight ends, and kicker. After that season, I was too old to continue playing Pop Warner football. That was the only time I played football, and I wanted more.

I tried staying in touch with high school football by interning with CPTV Sports. I worked with the production team to help broadcast the Friday night games of the week at different high schools throughout the state, but it didn’t feel the same as being at Fontana Field on a brisk, autumn, Friday night.

When you first walk down Dom D’Angelo’s Way and you see that big blue “S” at the middle of the field, a feeling of sheer Southington pride takes over my emotions. When the Southington football players run through the banner and form a circle at midfield, a sense of urgency hits me, making me want to jump in the pile and be a part of the action.

Southington football has brought me the closest to experiencing something that I had never had the opportunity to experience.

Whether it’s running down the sidelines to follow every snap with my video camera or interviewing players and coaches after the game, I love it all. Covering the best football team in the state has not only been a great experience, but it has been a privilege.

I’m a big fan of the Blue Knights.

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