You gotta Love Those Friday Nights
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Gotta Love Those Friday Nights
WATERTOWN – Ahh, Friday night football – you gotta love it. The school spirit, the energy at the field, the camaraderie and competition, testosterone and titillation.
Sometimes those Friday nights aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Sometimes those Friday nights need to move quickly into Saturday mornings. Sometimes those Friday nights should just be cancelled or maybe spent in other pursuits like playing a good game of scrabble or searching for bucket of fried chicken for Lackey, Beckett and Lester.
Now everybody has a different perspective, this one coming from a guy that hikes to the area fields with notebooks, rosters and high hopes for a good game and good weather. This Friday was not one of those good Fridays.
I was offered the Wolcott-Wilby game which I turned down, instead opting for Watertown-Derby. Very big mistake, very big. I love Wolcott. Nice press box, friendly people and Athletic Director Joe Monroe treats me well. But, I had seen Wolcott three times already and was ready for a change.
Watertown is just 10 minutes from my house and I had yet to see either the Indians or Derby. Sometimes logical reasoning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The weather forecast pretty much dictated the evening.
Rain was in the offing all week. Now water for the most part impacts the warriors on the field. But for those of us there for a different purpose it is usually less of a factor. Except when you go to Watertown.
Wolcott has a nice press box. Ansonia has a nice press box. Torrington has a nice press box. Woodland has a nice press box. Municipal Stadium has a nice press box. Seymour has a press box. Crosby has a press box. Pomperaug has a nice press box. You get the picture.
Watertown has a lean-to.
Actually it is open air and has like four poles and an overhang and is about the size of Tom Thumb’s bathroom. It holds space for the clock operator and the P.A. guy. After that you might be able to fit another body or two if you have a shoe horn and some butter.
The P.A. system was not set up so early on I had a spot but it was short-lived. About two minutes into the game I was told I had to move because they were setting up the P.A. system. Good friend and Watertown coach Keith Borkowski moved half outside the overhang making some room and somehow I managed to remain squeezed in by standing sideways.
The time keeper was struggling because he couldn’t see one end zone and the couple of Watertown coaches were standing in the stands relaying comments to the sidelines.
In the meantime, we are being strafed in the back by a blowing wind loaded with rain and the metal seats had us all looking like quality candidates for Depends. I ended up sitting on my canvas carrying bag which I ended throwing in the dryer when I got home.
All of which brings us to the rosters. The Native American logos on the rosters both looked about 80-years old with the rain created wrinkles. Early on the rosters texture turned to wet tissue type. Try reading those. I took them home and put them in the microwave.
The legal size notepad and notebook I use to keep the play-by-play and stats looked like one of those Roarshack Tests. Fun reading those later. Now what two do two big blobs and one small one mean?
All-right so the seating arrangements weren’t exactly ideal. We all put in for an upgrade, but it wasn’t forthcoming so you move on. But there were other quirks shall we say in the evening.
I had run the rosters off the CIAC website, a great resource, only to realize at the game that the Watertown roster had no numbers. Nice roster. So I mentioned this to my friend Borkowski and he sent a student in to the school to get a copy of the roster.
About a half an hour later he gets a call – the student can’t get the roster off the Athletic Director’s computer. Now, trying to get another roster anywhere within the same zip code is an attempt in major futility. I have been this route before. The game hasn’t even started and I’m thinking about heading up the street to Ordinary Joe’s.
I was saved on this occasion by simple luck. The P.A. announcer needed a roster and he was provided one – plus it was laminated. I’m going to be a P.A. announcer one day, that’s top-notch treatment.
So here we are having a good a good time in the lean-to and a bank of lights goes out. Now, I have been to Watertown before when this happened and the game was postponed. Fortunately, this bank only went out for about 20 minutes. Word was the there was a rush to pay CL&P and the check got there in time. Either way, the night is getting darker and danker. Now sometimes the game can save this day. Not this day. Derby is roughing up the Indians and will win, 41-0. The mantra in the lean-to is `run the ball’, please.
About 9:20 the game is finally in the books. I grab my umbrella, (I couldn’t use it in the lean-to, too big. I would have knocked out four fans and obscured too many views), walk the half mile around the field to get on to it. There is no other open entrance unless you hop the fence and you know what happens when you straddle the fence. I do my talking (thankfully by now the rain has stopped) and high-tail it back home.
Soggy notes, soggy rosters, soggy butt but safe and sound. I like Watertown. Borkowski can’t do enough for you and head coach Mike Veronneau is always hospitable. Legendary Marty Macione is always there to say hi to and in the past June Legge always welcomed you.
But, the lean-to on a rainy Friday night – no thanks. I wonder about Thanksgiving Day. If it is freezing weather, what are the options? Maybe bring a few dogs for a `Three-Dog Night’ and warmth. Maybe drive the car close and have a spotter on the roof?
Can we get a dome up quick? How about one of those circus tents? Can we rent the Madden Cruiser? Got any suggestions? Maybe we just have to say that this is football and suck it up.
For now, you will have to excuse me. I have to go get my crinkled rosters out of the microwave, my wife is worried about fire, and see if my pants are dry yet. You’ve got to love those Friday nights, don’t you? Well, most of them anyway.