On the sideline

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I’ve grown up watching football all my life. I’ve been to many football games, including high school, Harding, my home state team, and NFL and indoor arena games. I like football, and I like watching football. Watching it from the sideline is a whole different experience, and I know that now after spending last Saturday’s home game on the sideline for a magazine assignment.

You might be thinking, “Duh, it’s different,” but you have to understand that I have been completely oblivious to the magnitude of the exploding excitement that erupts from a hundred helmeted, padded giants when something incredible on the field happens. After Harding scored the first touchdown in the beginning of the second quarter, I quickly began clapping. My clapping was like a soft whisper in the wind compared to the helmet slapping, cleat stomping and bison roaring that took place simultaneously.

I had many notable experiences, which included somehow exiting the field at half time in the midst of the visiting team (which I thought had to be some sort of horrible bad luck charm I had then just put on the team) and constantly finding myself accidentally in the middle of the hiker as he practiced hiking the ball to the kicker/punter. But I think the most incredible experience was getting to hear what players and coaches were saying to each other in between drives.

For my magazine story, one of the athletic trainers I’m featuring told me that the coaches’ theme or moto for the team is “honor God.” What I witnessed was constant positivity and encouragement from players to each other. And I know they weren’t doing it because someone was watching. (I couldn’t be seen. Trust me. I’m almost six feet tall, and these guys towered over me). They were doing it because they strive to honor God and lift each other up. Win or lose, the bison football team is a team I’m proud to call my alma mater’s. But just in case you were wondering, they did win this weekend in an exciting fourth-quarter comeback and beat Northwestern Oklahoma State University 42-30.

Hannah Owens, director of news services

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