Thursday, December 4, 2014

Football & Food in Athens Schools

I love that this little town in the hills of Ohio, though often ignored politically, undeveloped economically, and mired in pockets of profound poverty, in the same day served the Athens City School kids Abby's winning dish for the state of Ohio school lunch contest and sent the high school football team to the State Championship game at the OSU stadium in Columbus.

We've got the food thing going on in Athens so it's no surprise that we've got budding chefs even in fourth grade. Whereas it's pretty incredible to see Athens compete with big city football programs that pull from a much larger pool of talent. Let's face it, football is a game where Goliath has the advantage.

Athens High School did not win, but it was the kind of football game that kept the fans on both sides on their feet (56 to 52) to the last seconds. For the record, and many were broken, there were more Bulldog fans. The Irish had twenty pounds and several inches on nearly every Athens player, but they did not have a quarterback with a phenomenal passing game, thus the slug fest high scoring game.

The real controversy was prompted when the school board notified parents that all Athens City Schools would have an early release followed by a delayed start. Turned out that parents, staff, and the buses were needed to get the football team and marching band up to Columbus in time for the game, but not everyone knew this information.

Being Athens, here I refer to the spirit of rebel rousing, the school board got an earful from parents august that four hours of education were being taken away before even a snow day hit for football. Nonetheless also being Athens, people listened. So a few digressed with hot air, but still people actually listened. Parent concerns were taken to heart. 

The school board explained their position in a letter and in the end took only two hours out of the school day. 

The special lunch was pulled off thanks to cooperation with the Athens City schools, Abby's family, and parent volunteers. 

The kids embraced it all.

At the game, it was cold in the stands. We were prepared-- I pulled out our ski gear. I noticed my neighbors in the stands sported hunting gear, making me feel a tad more city-mouse than I think of myself. As I watched the opposing fans cheer their Irish team from Toledo, the Athens fans rang cowbells. More cowbell