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Diamond-Raven
12-03-2008, 05:46 PM
Greetings! I never had any interest in sports - in high school or now, but both of my MCs are jocks. Does anybody know when football season is during high school? I know some sports are only run during certain times of the year but I seem to remember my high school having a rugby team all year round (but I may be dead wrong on that).

The reason I need to know is to map out some timing issues with my story.

Thanks!

PattiTheWicked
12-03-2008, 05:55 PM
Football season is in the fall. Around here, our first game is the first Friday that school is in session (late August) and the last one is mid-November. Playoff games/state championships run into late November. This was a big scheduling problem this year, because our school went to State but their game was the same day as the OSU/Michigan game. Major issue.

Oh, and practice begins in June for the following season.

GeorgeK
12-03-2008, 06:03 PM
At our high school I think the season didn't officially start until school started in late August. Prior to that was pre-season, supposedly arranged by the players themselves, where coaches weren't allowed to show up in any official capacity due to the official start date of the season and the league's desire to reduce injuries by reducing overtraining. There seemed to be a lot of coincindences where the coach just happenened to walk by the park that day and just happened to forget his clipboard on the parkbench with hypothetical drills and plays that he might think about using in the next season. Also just for fun, the players kept an attendence roster for their club.

vixey
12-03-2008, 06:05 PM
By football I assume you mean American football and not what we call soccer.

Patti is right about it being in the Fall. And practice around here (Virginia) begins in August.

Soccer season is in the Spring.

Barb D
12-03-2008, 08:44 PM
My son just played his last season of high school football.

Officially, practice starts two weeks before school starts, which around here means mid-August. Practices are LONG, hot, and draining. During that 2 weeks cuts are made. This is particularly brutal on the freshmen.

Unofficially, they do mandatory conditioning (weight lifting, running, etc.) several times a week all year, including all summer. They don't have to do it in the winter or spring if they're playing a winter or spring sport.

The first football game is the first Friday of the school year (late August/early September). In our county, the last game is in early November unless you make the playoffs. Our school never made the playoffs in the 4 years my son played.

One game of the season is Homecoming, which is a huge deal. Homecoming is on a Saturday afternoon. Our school has a pancake breakfast (with the players as waiters) in the morning, a parade with the marching band later, the game, and a dance that night. Our team will play at our homecoming one Saturday during the season, and another school's homecoming on another Saturday. Most of the other games are Friday nights.

Another special game is the Senior Game. At the Senior Game the senior players and cheerleaders and their parents come onto the field and are introduced before the game. Each player gave his mom a rose. (That's at our school, anyway.) At half time the senior band members and their parents are introduced.

My son also plays Rugby, but the Rugby team is not school-sanctioned. The kids organized it on their own, and are trying to join a league (although they may end up joining an already-established team instead.)

Chase
12-04-2008, 01:38 AM
Just confirming what others' good info. I played high school football and helped coach when I taught at a high school. Nothing changed in that interim:

Three-a-day practice sessions started two weeks before school and continued as two-a-days before and after classes until our first game. Then practice every afternoon after school until the last game just before Thanksgiving.

When we were tops in our division, practice continued after Thanksgiving through the playoffs and maybe to the state champ game before Christmas break.

Diamond-Raven
12-04-2008, 05:40 PM
Thanks so much for all your replies! For some reason, I always thought football season was closer to the end of the school year. It suits my story very, very well that it's early in the year. Yay!

A question from a Canadian: What exactly is 'homecoming'? Who exactly comes home during this game and why is it so important?

Chase
12-04-2008, 06:16 PM
A question from a Canadian: What exactly is 'homecoming'? Who exactly comes home during this game and why is it so important?

My understanding of homecoming is when alumni come "home" to be honored by present students and faculty.

I'm sure some of the tradition may be lost in some schools, but my high school, college, and university were mindful of former football players in particular (since homecoming usually takes place near the beginning of the year during a home game football rally), and former students and faculty in general.

Red-Green
12-04-2008, 06:21 PM
And of course, don't forget those two key elements of football season for non-athletes: pep rallies, which get you out of classes on Friday afternoons before games, and post-game dances, which in small town America tend to involve underage drinking and furtive fornication. Go team!

Serious Desi
12-05-2008, 04:25 AM
Don't forget the sprit weeks ( basically costume days that are a competition between classes, for every big game, dance, and before each season starts)
I know that once you lose in the play offs ( if you make it that far) that the season ends for you.

FinbarReilly
12-05-2008, 11:02 AM
Thanks so much for all your replies! For some reason, I always thought football season was closer to the end of the school year. It suits my story very, very well that it's early in the year. Yay!
As noted: If you are referring to non-American schools, then the football season would be in the spring (the ball would also be round and black and white).


A question from a Canadian: What exactly is 'homecoming'? Who exactly comes home during this game and why is it so important?
Homecoming is the first home game of the year. The week leading up to it is usually "Spirit Week" (each day has a different theme where all of the kids dress up (one day will be the silliest thing they can think up, cross-dressing is another day, and wearing of school colors (including face and body paint) is encouraged). There may even be grade competitions (frosh vs. sophomores vs. juniors vs. seniors), with a major pep rally on the Friday of the game).

Basically, it's good to be on the varsity team this week...

FR

Diamond-Raven
12-05-2008, 02:26 PM
My understanding of homecoming is when alumni come "home" to be honored by present students and faculty.

I'm sure some of the tradition may be lost in some schools, but my high school, college, and university were mindful of former football players in particular (since homecoming usually takes place near the beginning of the year during a home game football rally), and former students and faculty in general.

*nods* Ah, I see! For some reason, I thought it had something to do with prom - which is something we also don't do the same was as our neighbors to the south do.

Thanks for the info! I'm thinking that I'll have to start making the whole football thing a bigger deal in the story, since one of my MCs is the captain of the football team.

Diamond-Raven
12-05-2008, 02:34 PM
And of course, don't forget those two key elements of football season for non-athletes: pep rallies, which get you out of classes on Friday afternoons before games, and post-game dances, which in small town America tend to involve underage drinking and furtive fornication. Go team!

Wow, plot bunnies are just leaping out at me from all corners! I had no idea football was taken so seriously in the States. Since one of my MCs is the captain of the football team, I definitely need to put more of these events into the story. Thanks for the wonderful info and for (probably unwittingly) dumping a bucket of very interesting plot bunnies over my head.

FennelGiraffe
12-05-2008, 08:44 PM
Homecoming is the first home game of the year.

Not necessarily the first. We always had it around mid-season. Hmm, it might have been the first district home game, though.

Usually the first two or three games of the season are non-district or non-conference (the terminology varies). They count in terms of overall season record, but they don't count towards district championship.

A team only plays ten or eleven regular-season games, although a top team will play several additional post-season games, as they ascend through various levels of championships.

I'm sure the details vary by state, but generally schools compete against similarly-sized schools. In Texas, where I live, there are five size categories for public schools: A (199 or fewer students) through 5A (2085 and up). In the playoffs, however, the 5A category is split into two divisions, because some schools are super-huge. Private schools have a separate system.

I live in a suburban area of a big city, and a large stadium near my house is shared by seven high schools. Most of the games they play are against schools in similar circumstances. Each weekend games are played on Thursday evening, Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening, to maximize use of the facility.

In small rural towns, such as the one I grew up in, there's usually a small stadium at each school. There, Friday night games are definitely the norm. However, away games may be an hour or more bus ride away (I was in the marching band, back in the day).


*nods* Ah, I see! For some reason, I thought it had something to do with prom - which is something we also don't do the same was as our neighbors to the south do.

The Homecoming Dance is right up there with Prom in social importance. Homecoming is usually the top social event in the fall, while Prom is the top social event in the spring.


I'm thinking that I'll have to start making the whole football thing a bigger deal in the story, since one of my MCs is the captain of the football team.

For big-city high schools, it's a big deal. For small-town high schools, it's an absolutely gigantic deal involving the whole community, even families without school-aged kids.

A huge number of students are directly involved in football season. It isn't just the football team; it's also the cheerleaders, the pep squad, the marching band, the majorettes, the drill team, and the ROTC color guard.

ETA: In Texas, and I expect most states, football players have to maintain passing grades to play. It isn't unusual for coaches to put pressure on other teachers to make sure that happens, whether or not the player does any classwork. Sometimes, even the school principal will do that, or at least turn a blind eye to it.

Sometimes decisions affecting the whole school are made purely for the benefit of football. There are a number of notorious high schools in Texas which continually add on to the existing school building, rather than building a new school and splitting the student body, in order to avoid splitting the football team. Some have over 5000 students now. These same schools have won numerous state football championships. Top football coaches may get paid several times as much as "ordinary" teachers.

FinbarReilly
12-05-2008, 09:24 PM
Not necessarily the first. We always had it around mid-season. Hmm, it might have been the first district home game, though.
Clarification, then: It's the first game of the year that counts that is also held at home.


I'm sure the details vary by state, but generally schools compete against similarly-sized schools. In Texas, where I live, there are five size categories for public schools: A (199 or fewer students) through 5A (2085 and up). In the playoffs, however, the 5A category is split into two divisions, because some schools are super-huge. Private schools have a separate system.
In Northern California, at least, the size of the school doesn't matter so much; it's pretty common to see schools of two different sizes go head to head.


I live in a suburban area of a big city, and a large stadium near my house is shared by seven high schools. Most of the games they play are against schools in similar circumstances.
Other schools have a field with bleachers that is used for general PE as well.

[Heh; I'm like: A stadium for high school sports? WHOA. We usually used the one stadium in town that was used by a number of groups.]


Each weekend games are played on Thursday evening, Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening, to maximize use of the facility.
OTOH, I'm used to just games on Friday, sometimes on Saturday, and rarely on Sunday. The games are usually followed by a dance (Homecoming Dance is usually one of the biggest dances of the year, especially as it's usually one of the first dances, if not the first one).


There, Friday night games are definitely the norm. However, away games may be an hour or more bus ride away (I was in the marching band, back in the day).
Same here. Trips of up to two or three hours aren't uncommon, with having to stay the night eing reasonably frequent, even if just for freshmen players (older players sometimes carpooling and/or staying the night with relatives).


The Homecoming Dance is right up there with Prom in social importance. Homecoming is usually the top social event in the fall, while Prom is the top social event in the spring.
I think that's pretty much the norm anywhere. Homecoming is pretty much focused on sports, whereas Prom is more of a romance thing. Not much for nerds, it seems....


For big-city high schools, it's a big deal. For small-town high schools, it's an absolutely gigantic deal involving the whole community, even families without school-aged kids.
Definitely. There is a reason for the "high school hero" stereotype...

As for the grades: In California, the minimum is a 2.0 GPA (a straight C-average). Although coaches no doubt try to pressure the other teachers to give players the "appropriate" grades, that's not usually an issue (a lot of the concepts players are taught translate well over studying, and coaches are usually teachers as well). In fact, should a coach get caught trying to influence grades, there's the possibility of fines and losing credentials.

FR

Red-Green
12-05-2008, 09:42 PM
I'm from southwest Kansas, and in rural Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska, high school football is like a religion. You can trash somebody for being a Methodist or a Catholic, but you trash talk his hometown team and there'll be a fight.

From August to November, people in football country go crazy. Marching bands, parades, floats, booster clubs, bake sales. Some small towns even import better players from big cities. (Take a kid who isn't good enough to play A string in a Dallas high school, and offer him a place to live and a chance to really shine in AA or AAA high school ball, which might lead to a scholarship for a community college.)

It's utterly rabid. In my hometown, there were five things high school kids did on a Friday night during football season. You were either a.) on the team, b.) on the cheerleading squad, c.) in the marching band, d.) working the concessions booth, or e.) in the stands cheering (or behind the stands drinking.) The whole town goes to the game.


I had no idea football was taken so seriously in the States. Since one of my MCs is the captain of the football team, I definitely need to put more of these events into the story. Thanks for the wonderful info and for (probably unwittingly) dumping a bucket of very interesting plot bunnies over my head.

jennifer75
12-05-2008, 09:46 PM
Greetings! I never had any interest in sports - in high school or now, but both of my MCs are jocks. Does anybody know when football season is during high school? I know some sports are only run during certain times of the year but I seem to remember my high school having a rugby team all year round (but I may be dead wrong on that).

The reason I need to know is to map out some timing issues with my story.

Thanks!
I lived across the street from my highschool and I remember seeing "hell week" players practicing during summer break. So.....maybe early Sept/Oct starts the football season? Not really sure.

FennelGiraffe
12-05-2008, 11:11 PM
I live in a suburban area of a big city, and a large stadium near my house is shared by seven high schools. Most of the games they play are against schools in similar circumstances.

Other schools have a field with bleachers that is used for general PE as well.

The individual high schools have a field on campus that's used for general PE, practice, and Freshman & JV (I think) games, but Varsity games are played at the big stadium.


[Heh; I'm like: A stadium for high school sports? WHOA. We usually used the one stadium in town that was used by a number of groups.]

Big, sprawling city. There are around 30 large public high schools. We have at least four major high school stadiums (seating capacity 10K+), plus one under construction, each serving multiple schools. In addition, a number of schools have individual stadiums (the arrangement differs for political reasons not worth getting into here).

On the other hand, drive 40 miles in any direction and you'll find small high schools in small towns with a completely different setup.

ETA:


Some small towns even import better players from big cities. (Take a kid who isn't good enough to play A string in a Dallas high school, and offer him a place to live and a chance to really shine in AA or AAA high school ball, which might lead to a scholarship for a community college.)

Texas goes to great lengths trying to prevent this, although everyone know it still happens. My daughter played freshman basketball (all sports are subject to the same rules). Even though we hadn't moved, she attended a private middle school, so was technically considered a transfer student going into the public high school. I had to fill out reams of paperwork to prove she was eligible to play. I even had to detail my employment history to prove no one had offered me a job to get us to move.

Soccer Mom
12-06-2008, 02:25 AM
What they said. I live in a town of 1200 people. We are playing for the 2A Region 2 championship in Texas tomorrow. Last week there practically the entire town traveled over an hour to see the play off game in 30 degree weather and rain. They were escorted by the local PD. The route out of town was lined with flags and Burma Shave styles signs, one for each member of the team. I can't emphasize enough what a big deal High School football is in Texas.