OCT. 2 HOME STRETCH COLUMN — PETE TEMPLE, SPORTS EDITOR
Emily Burds of Monticello, who worked in our office as an intern over the summer, Facebook-ed me a series of questions last week for a University of Iowa class project she was working on.
Because I thought the questions were interesting, and because I had fun answering them, I thought I’d share them here.
The questions pertain to Monticello’s big football win over Mount Vernon back on Sept. 20. Emily sent me the questions Sept. 25 (prior to the Homecoming win over Camanche).
EB: Why do you cover the football games?
PT: Because it’s part of my job, but also because I enjoy it. I have been a huge fan of sports as long as I can remember.
EB: Would you attend this game if you weren’t reporting on it?
PT: I moved here from Minnesota, so to be honest, if I hadn’t gotten this job, I don’t think I would have known about this game. But if I had grown up in Monticello (without this job), there is a good chance I would have attended because of my love for sports.
EB: Why do you think people should attend this event and events like it?
PT: High school sports, especially in the smaller schools, have a traditional charm that you won’t find in the money-hungry college and professional sports. The athletes are playing for school pride only, and their parents and other spectators take pride in their towns and in the athletes on the field. Friday nights at the high school football field have a traditional appeal that is unlikely ever to wane.
EB: Why does this matter to you? Should this matter to others?
PT: I enjoy having a job that requires me to go to games I would likely attend on my own time anyway. I can’t really speak for others about whether it should matter, and I admit that sometimes youth sports matter more than they should.
EB: Why is this game particularly important? Why do you think it brought out the crowd that it did?
PT: It was important for the team and everyone who follows it, because it was an upset win over a highly-regarded opponent, and will wind up as a key factor if the team makes the playoffs for the first time since 1991.
As far as the crowd, I’m guessing you asked that in terms of it being a large crowd, but I felt it was a smaller crowd than it should have been on a pleasant night early in the season. It probably was smaller because the team was off to a 1-2 start and appeared headed for the kind of mediocre season that has been common in recent years. After the big win, I’ll bet the crowd will be much larger for Friday’s Homecoming game.
EB: It appears that a lot of people without any direct connection to the team attended this event. Why do you think that is?
PT: I imagine there are people who simply enjoy high school football, whether to stir old memories of high school days or simply to be part of the “Friday night lights.” It’s more or less the place to be on a fall Friday night in a small town.