Hopefully, you read the title of this blog as a rhetorical question.

Hi. My name is Joe Dredge and I love high school sports. I participated in them myself while attending Harlem High School. My dad has coached high school sports longer than I've been alive. And now I have the privilege of calling high school football and basketball over the airwaves of 1440 WROK.


I might have a Pollyanna view of high school sports but I consider it to be one of the last bastions of pure athletics. Sure there are sports specialists that are trying to ruin the organic nature of high school sports, but the base is too broad to ever be wholly corrupted.

It's a beautiful environment that should be enjoyed through the lens of the youth, but that's not how some are consuming high school sports.

I met a friend in Byron last Saturday morning to watch some college football at a bar. One of my favorite past times, watching 9 college football games at a time at a bar while drinking a few beers.

I was very surprised to find the Byron bar packed at 10:30AM on a Saturday. Like, shockingly packed. I had no idea that the small town of Byron was going to be this juiced up for an Illinois-Purdue game at 11A on a mid-November Saturday morning.

It turns out I was wrong. Pretty much the entire bar was there to get a little loose before the 1 o'clock playoff game against Reed-Custer.

This isn't an inditement on the town of Byron itself. There were plenty of fans from visiting Reed-Custer there as well. Proudly wearing their high school's sweatshirt as they pounded shots before heading over to the football game.

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Again. I'm not a prude. I enjoy an adult beverage from time to time. Even occasionally when it's inappropriate. But do you really need to tie one on before a high school football game?

The way I see it the people that were getting bombed at the bar before the high school playoff game fell into two categories:

  • Parents of kids playing in the game. And
  • People that were from the area that just wanted to go watch a high school football game.

Now if you're a member of the first group, you're getting drunk before you child participates in a high school activity. Not great.

But somehow it's better than being a member of the other group that has no other connection to the school than the fact that they live there and/or went to school there. In that case, you're just getting drunk on a Saturday morning to go watch some 16-18 year olds play football at a high school. Pretty creepy.

I love the fact that small communities like Bryon embrace the high school athletic programs but maybe we save the adult celebrations till after the kids are done.

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