Picture this: it’s a Friday night in October. The community goes to the Eads High School volleyball game. When the final whistle blows, the fans pack up their things, put on their jackets, and walk out the door. By now, most of them are probably in the habit of walking from the gym to the football field. But this time it’s different. They turn the corner and realize there are no Friday Night Lights. The wind is chilly - it’s football weather. But there is no football game.
I graduated from Eads High School in 2015. It’s amazing how so many things can change so quickly. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this community would be in this situation. I may not have played football, but that doesn’t matter - some of my best memories from high school are from football games, pep rallies, and homecoming. I was lucky to have gone to a school with a football team. I’ve talked to people who weren’t as fortunate. Ask any of them: having a high school football team makes a big difference. Think about those Friday night lights, seeing the flag wave in the breeze and the rush of purple and gold jerseys on the field. Think of the pride and spirit that the football team has brought to this school and this community. I don’t want to lose that.
After years of 8-man teams, Eads has played 6-man football since 2007. Despite small numbers, football quickly became the most successful boys sport at EHS. In the last 10 years, the Eads football team has played in the semi-finals eight times, played in five championship games (2007, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015), and won two state titles (2008, 2015). In the four year period from 2012 to 2015, Eads played in three 6-Man state title football games. They fell short in 2012 and 2014, but managed to come out on top with a state title in 2015. Regardless, the success of the football program is undeniable.
Now, just two years after a state championship, it’s time to face a sad reality: there is a possibility that Eads High School will not have a football team. It makes my heart hurt to say that out loud. The loss of that program at Eads High School would mean the loss of a lot of things. No more Friday Night Lights. No more Star-Spangled Banner under the stars. No more Homecoming Court getting rained on at halftime. It would mean the loss of a team. The loss of so much school spirit. The loss of the sound of helmets smacking together, the blow of the whistle, and the roar of the crowd. The loss of a program that teaches kids to chase their dreams, to work hard, to do their best, and to never give up.
People were shocked when Eads dropped from an 8-man football team to 6-man in 2007. Now, ten years after going to 6-man, the scary thought of “no-man” football is hanging heavy in the air as we prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Eads High School and the All-School Reunion in September. I wouldn’t want to break the news to the alumni that there may be no football game to watch before the reunion. I wouldn’t want to tell the Class of 2018 that their senior homecoming might take place in a gym. I wouldn’t want to see how having no football team would impact this school.
Sometimes as a student it’s hard to get involved. It can be scary to join that club or go out for that team. But the fear shouldn’t stop you. I promise it’s worth it. Don’t be the reason that Eads doesn’t have a football team. If we lose this program, we won’t ever get it back. Is that a legacy you want to leave?
So, Eagle Nation, it’s your responsibility now. Don’t lose it.