The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 30, 2013

We’re ready

The Register-Herald

— Stadiums across our community, across the state and across the nation are filling up with players and coaches, families and fans.

Preseason practice is over. Football summer camps have long closed up shop. The summer weather is shifting, giving way to autumn.

The smell of stadium food wafts through the air; tailgates and barbecues are being fired up in the parking lots. We can smell those burgers and brats now.

The marching bands are playing their pregame fight songs and alma maters to the hundreds and thousands of fans.

All this can only mean one thing: Football is here again.

The beloved late announcer of WVU football games Jack Fleming once said in a pre-game opening, “Anything can happen in football, on any given night, on any given field, it can happen ...,” and, oh boy, do we all want that football magic to be created by our beloved teams, and maybe it will this year.

A long, deep pass down field to win the game. A runner seemingly all tied up in a dog-pile who breaks free for a big gain. A linebacker who zeroes in on a quarterback before he can make a game-winning play. That’s part of the allure of football — the spontaneous big event that breaks out amid all the strategic game plans from either sideline.

Whether you are pro-WVU or pro-Marshall, pro-Shady or pro-Woodrow, pro-Baltimore or pro-Pittsburgh, we all have our particular loyalties, and no matter how deep those loyalties lie, it is all fans’ responsibility to be respectful and show good sportsmanship to the players and coaches, no matter on which sideline they reside.

If your team fumbles away a victory or watches as the football sails wide right as time expires, that is not a time to take out your disappointment on the players and coaches who just gave their 110 percent at the game you attended. It also means it’s not a time to take out those frustrations on the opposing fans.

When defeat strikes you during the football season, it’s best to find alternative ways to exercise that disappointment, mostly perhaps by directing it into encouragement and the power of positive thinking.

For you players out there giving it all on the field, we marvel at your athleticism and your dedication to training and practice, but we also pray that you are as safe as the game allows.

With the threat and long-lasting implications of concussions more prevalent in today’s sport, we hope that all players are cautious and regard their fellow players’ health as much as they regard their own.

Football is a game full of passion, hard work, strategy and long-standing traditions. We hope everyone enjoys the upcoming season, but does so in a respectful and responsible manner.