With my schedule at WKTY it is usually hit and miss when I am out covering a game. Whenever I go to a sporting event I am always asked if I am "working" or if I am just there to watch a game. I would say more times than not when I am at a game I am "working", my 3 kids aren't old enough yet that I would be covering a sporting event that they are participating in.
On Friday night I covered a game at Onalaska when they were playing against Aquinas. Sometimes when I am covering a football game I sit up in the press box with the rest of the media, that for sure has it's advantages. Not only do you get a perfect view of the game, it is also fairly quiet it makes it much easier to pay attention to the game and the sound quality on the air is probably better too. Up until last Friday night every game that I was covering this season I was sitting in the press box, either at UW-L or at Logan, most stadiums outside of LaCrosse though I end up sitting in the bleachers or standing somewhere along the sidelines.
On Friday night when I was in Onalaska I was sitting in the bleachers, shortly before the game started I saw a familiar face. My old high school football coach from Westby Neil Hoven was at the Onalaska/Aquinas game, he had another man with him that I had never met before it was legendary Aquinas coach Jack Nockles. Coach Hoven greeted me as he always does, with a smile from ear to ear and telling me a joke. As we were sitting there talking about the glory days, Neil started telling me about coach Nockles and how they coached in an all star game together. Coach Hoven had picked him up from the nursing home so he could go and watch his old football team. Coach Nockles had a stroke and no longer talks, but his actions and the expression on his face did all of the speaking for him. It seemed everyone that was wearing Aquinas blue that walked near him he waved to and they all waved back, he knew everyone in the crowd and everyone knew him. His former players came up to him and would shake his hand, there was a man that brought his son up to him so that he could meet "his old football coach". The smile on coach Nockles face is probably still there today, he was so happy to see everyone, and everyone seemed very happy to see him too.
Friday night the game went into 4 overtimes and it ended with a field goal, as far as a high school football game goes and "not having a horse in the race" it doesn't get much better than that. There were rushing touchdowns, passing touchdowns, interception for a touchdown, and game winning field goals. That night though the memory that I will always have is about my old football coach getting one of his old coaching acquaintances out of a nursing home so he could be happy and watch his old team play football. I know this week I am going to be sitting in another press box, but I look forward to the next time that I am part of the crowd while I am "working" at a football game.