“Futbol americano” in the barrio

28 08 2010

Friday night, I covered a high-school football game for the Arizona Republic.

The first one I have covered in maybe nine years.

What a re-introduction to prep sports. Phoenix Maryvale hosting Phoenix Central at MHS, in the heart of a largely Mexican neighborhood in West Phoenix. I’m told it’s a tough neighborhood, the streets. Didn’t feel like that to me, but I’m not from here.

I think I was just too consumed with hustling and getting prepared and getting used to the job again. I used to have a good system for stats when in Seattle. At least now I can file quickly with a wireless internet device.

I hadn’t been around that many Mexicans at a football game since I was a P.A. announcer for Woodburn High football in Oregon in 1997 I think. If you know Woodburn and its demographics, you know what I mean. There was also the parking lot at the Oakland Coliseum (or whatever it’s called now) before Seahawks-Raiders in 2002. Plenty of raza there. Raider Nation!!!!

Two things: A) It’s for pay. B) It was a reality check to my pride when I looked back on a career covering some big-time teams and games, but there’s something refreshing and rewarding about going back to the roots of the biz.

And what a game. Maryvale won 29-27 in a thriller. Kids with names like Aldrete and Valenzuela and Galindo and Garcia. And Stokes and Anderson. They  helped the Panthers to the win at home over the Bobcats. The people at Maryvale were so great and helpful, and you watch the band and the kids and the players and you see why high-school sports is part of the heartbeat of this country, from barrios to the ‘burbs and out to the sticks.

I’m glad I was able to experience that old feeling again, and I look forward to more games this fall. Oh, and it wasn’t 100 degrees when the game started. It was actually not overwhelming hot out there.

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One response

30 08 2010
gert mclean

Hey, Jose, this is Gert from Seattle. I used to follow your blog and game threads when you were here; let’s just say it’s not the same without you!

Glad to see you’re still following the Sounders. I am so glad FL went to Chicago, though I know he had plenty of supporters here. Still, though, I was shocked that people were booing him!

Hope AZ is treating you well and isn’t too hot. As you probably know, we’ve had an unusually cool, cloudy summer here — ahhhh, refreshing! 🙂

Take care —
gert

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