Extra Points: Brian Spano 4/10
By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
Certainly, you’ve heard the phrase, “In Texas, everything is bigger.” But that doesn’t make it necessarily better.
It was recently discovered that a $60 million, 18,000-seat high school football stadium in Allen, Tex., that’s just two years old mind you, has to be shut down because of major cracks in the concourse areas caused by concrete shrinkage.
Not that I would be critical of anything they do in Texas, or of the word shrinkage, but let’s be realistic here, does this excessiveness in high school sports really need to happen?
I know, I know, they are fanatical about high school football in Texas. Hey, I love it too, or I would be doing what I’m doing, but sometimes in sports, we cross lines that don’t need to be crossed. These are just 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids.
Oh, did I mention that the stadium in Allen, Tex., is the fourth-largest high school venue in the state and was the most costly high school stadium built in Texas, funded partly by a $119 million bond package voted on in 2009? And get this, it also features a 32-foot wide HD video screen, an underground golf simulator and 5,000 parking spaces.
Now this type of structure would probably not occur in our area. I’m pretty sure about that, but then that’s not to say certain accommodations have slowly crept their way into the newer facilities or upgrades as the years have gone by, i.e. suites, climate-controlled press boxes (can’t say I don’t mind those) and animated scoreboards to name a few.
Give me a scoreboard with a few light bulbs burned out and a crackly sound system. I’m OK with metal bleachers and a press box that’s big enough to fit the coaches, the clock operator, public address announcer and yes, even the press. Sure, I long for the days of grass fields, but I’m willing to forego that one because of maintenance, cost and injuries, but hey, you can’t have everything.
I may sound cynical, old fashioned or just plain simple in my thinking, but I don’t enjoy it when the game gets overly complicated or too excessive. All I have to do is point myself in the direction of Allen, Tex. to see what they’ve done.
High school football should be played simply and beautifully on fields next to the schools for the parents, students and community to enjoy. It’s really one of the few positive localized events that can bring a town together for a common reason.
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