School began this week across the area and tonight the first Friday football games were played at local highschools. Carl Junction had their first home game, against fierce rival Webb City. When the Bulldogs are home the marching band provides the halftime entertainment, along with support for the football team with rousing songs during the game.
Home game, marching band…that means this Yaya was on the sideline, cheering for the Bulldog team and the band as my grandson Dayan marched onto the field.
This first game was huge. The rivalry between these two local schools is friendly and intense, which created a record breaking attendance this evening at the Bulldog Stadium.
At the half, the score was Carl Junction 10, Webb City 0. And the Marching Bulldogs took the field. I loved watching the halftime performance. The band performed World War II, Remembering an Era, expertly moving together across the field as they played. The band then brought the crowd to its feet with the Bulldogs Fight Song. It was an excellent halftime show!
When the football game began again, it was obvious the Bulldogs were all business. They only allowed the Webb City Cardinals one touchdown. As the second half ticked down on the clock, the energy within that stadium soared. Last year, Carl Junction lost to Webb City by one point, in the last seconds of the game. The Bulldogs were not about to repeat that situation
It’s been 39 years since Carl Junction won in a football game against Webb City. Many of the players’ parents weren’t born yet the last time CJ claimed victory over WC. Fans were on their feet. There was cheering and screaming and thunderous applause. I was part of that, carried along by the wave of excitement.
Yes, it was a high school football game. And it was a historic moment, not witnessed before in the lifetimes of most of the crowd.
The Carl Junction Bulldogs prevailed, winning their opening home game, 23-7.
What a fun evening. I’m proud of the Bulldogs, both the football team and the marching band. They gave their best tonight, and much deserved celebrations were rampant after the game. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to witness a game that will be talked about for years to come.
Area schools have started their fall semesters and tonight, high school football games kicked off, literally, all over the region. A gorgeous evening with very fall-like temps encouraged a huge turn out for the Carl Junction Bulldogs first home game.
Elissa and Josh, Greg and I, perched on the stadium bleachers, right at the edge of the student section. Those kids stand up, so not the best seats for the best view, BUT the energy was high…playful and spirited. And we could hear the band very well, since they were in the next section of bleachers.
And while the football games are fun to watch and parents and students alike enter into the joyous, party-like atmosphere, I am there for the marching band. I am there to cheer during the half time show and appreciate a fine musical performance. Grandson Dayan, who is a junior in high school this year, plays the tuba and is the leader of that section. I am there for my grandson.
Dayan, his section, and the entire band gave a wonderful performance. They played Grand Illusion and Mr. Roboto, lively selections by Styx. The band sounded great and marched together well. I’ve been in marching band. It takes concentration and skill to march in formation while playing an instrument. Well done, Marching Bulldogs.
And well done, CJ football team. They won their first home game, 61 to 7. Their season is off to an explosive start!
Elissa, Josh, Greg and I slipped away after the half time show. As we walked toward the car, Josh suddenly said, “Rootbeer floats”. That sounded like a great way to finish the evening! We ended up at Shakes, in Webb City. And no one had a Rootbeer float, although Greg came the closest with a Rootbeer smoothie, which is ice cream and Rootbeer blended together like a shake.
We all enjoyed our cold treats, seated at a picnic table in front of Shakes, on a beautiful night. The conversation was fun and lively and we laughed as we chatted. Football, marching band, family, ice cream…a great Friday night tradition.
I planned out today’s first early in the week. Tonight was Carl Junction High School’s first home football game. It was also the marching band’s first halftime performance of the new school year and therefore, my grandson Dayan’s first time to take the field with the band this year also. And today was Cheese Pizza Day. My evening plan was to attend the Carl Junction football game with Elissa, Josh and Greg, cheer on the Bulldogs, watch Dayan and the marching band give a stellar performance during halftime and then finish out the evening with a cheese pizza! It seemed like a good plan.
One thing that is absolutely true, in Missouri, is that the weather can change in a heartbeat. As Greg and I drove toward Carl Junction, which is a few miles northwest of Joplin, the sky looked ominous. Dark clouds were massing to the west. Dayan was already at the high school. This young man and the rest of the marching band, have been meeting early, EARLY, in the morning, for weeks, to practice the songs and marching pattern for tonight’s home game. Dayan has been rising at 4:30 am and walking the short distance to school in the dark, to take the field. I so admire the determination and commitment of the band teacher, the band, and Dayan. His mom, who is my daughter Elissa, and her charming beau, Josh, were also at the stadium, saving seats for Greg and me.
Elissa and I had a continuing text conversation going on about the threatening weather. From Elissa’s seat on the CJHS bleachers, the sky looked like it was clearing up a bit. She was facing east. I was driving into the west, and as Greg and I arrived at the high school football field, lightning was flickering in the black clouds. Thunder rumbled as we parked and made our way into the stadium. The band was standing on the far side of the field, facing west also, and they too, were watching the sky. Unfortunately, just as we all settled into our seats and prepared to watch the Bulldogs take the field, the storm moved into Carl Junction. A delay of game was called because of lightning. The band members scurried off the field. I got to watch Dayan actually run. He was, after all, carrying a large metal tuba! A moment later, it was announced that we must leave the metal bleachers. As we filed toward the front gate, the black sky loomed overhead. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued and the four of us darted for the car as Dayan and the band gathered in the high school.
I had hoped to have a slice of cheese pizza while at the game, thereby celebrating Cheese Pizza Day. With rain pelting the car and lightning splitting the sky, we changed course and drove to Randy’s Drive In, located at 1201 Pennell in Carl Junction. My first shifted from pizza to trying out this well loved hamburger hang out. Greg and I sampled the special of the day, the cheeseburger basket, while we waited to see if the weather would clear enough for the game to be played and the band to perform. The cheeseburger was an excellent old fashioned type burger. I enjoyed chatting with Greg, Elissa and Josh while savoring the burger. We laughed and shared stories while getting text updates from Dayan. Greg has a great weather app on his Galaxy phone and he kept us apprised of the weather. As one storm front moved through the area, another was forming behind it. And yet another appeared further west. Just as we finished our meal and moved to the car, intending to drive back to the football stadium, Dayan texted that they were releasing the band members to go home. Whether or not the rain cleared and the football team took to the field, the halftime show was cancelled.
I did at least get to see Dayan and give him a hug. He was one tired young man. His attitude was great, as always, knowing that the hard work the band has put in these last three weeks will yield wonderful results when they do get to perform. There will be other home games. Elissa and Dayan pointed out that this was the first time in years that a halftime band performance has been cancelled due to the weather.
My firsts shifted around this evening. No high school football game, no marching band performance, no cheese pizza. However, as they always do, the firsts did appear, exactly as they were supposed to. First cancelled half time performance, first time to eat at Randy’s Drive In. I am one to make the most of what is happening NOW. I enjoyed the cozy impromptu dinner at Randy’s with Greg, Elissa and Josh. And I am so proud of Dayan, who is learning at a young age to also make the most of the present moment. He accepted the gift of the unexpected early end to the evening. He was going to get some rest! We will all be there at the next Carl Junction High School football game, ready to cheer on the team and clap wildly for the Bulldogs Marching Band.