By Sean Fisher- Lead Filmmaker
I could write a flurry of descriptive words that remind you of fall and get you excited about football season but chances are if you’re reading this bit, you’re already excited. I just want to share why the passion of the arena of high school football is unrivaled in American sports.
PASSION. You must have passion to be a videographer; otherwise your work comes out bland. You also must have passion to be a high school football player. I’m sure many players would love to go to the next level. However, only about 1 in every 12 will play at a college or university. This means that high school is the last chance for most guys to strap up their pads before they strap up their flags for adult intramural flag football. With that being said, its important to point out that the passion of high school football players rivals that of any other player at any other level.
High school players know that when they take that final senior walk, their time is coming to an end. They’re not really worried about “getting that money” like you see with so many college and pro athletes. Trust me, I’ve been around a sea of higher-level athletes and that has to be one of the phrases you will hear each day without fail. The passion just dwindles as the levels of play progress. It’s not that the passion isn’t there at the higher levels, it’s that the game is still mostly pure at the high school level.
In high school athletics you probably don’t have to worry about sanctions or scandals. You’re playing for your family, for your town, attempting to leave some sort of legacy. No doubt that other high school sports are playing for the same things, however, in America, and especially in Ohio, high school football reigns supreme at almost every school.
These boys trying to become men often carry their school on their backs. Towns remember and will continue to talk about that undefeated team from the 60's, the unlikely conference champions from the 80's, and the unforgettable game that cemented a local rivalry. These 15-18 year old boys are the water cooler topic and the barbershop conversation throughout the week. I mean, just watch Friday Night Lights (the movie or the tv show, both are phenomenal) and you get a feel for the beast that is high school football, especially when it comes to the big high school football states. It's obvious when you’re in an area like central or southeastern Ohio, where the Friday night stage at the local football field is the most visited spot in town; the beast of high school football shows itself. The passion of the players and fans in this area is truly a sight to behold.
These guys have to rely on so many more people than themselves, too. It is truly a team sport. You can’t just have one star that will carry you far. In soccer, basketball, and baseball, you can probably get by fine with just a couple studs on your team. Football won’t work that way. It doesn’t matter if you have a power runningback if the line that blocks for him isn’t good enough. What good is a receiver with great hands with an average quarterback throwing his way, or a stellar kicker whose team can’t get him close enough to actually attempt a kick.
Football requires such a high level of teamwork and communication. You need to trust that those around you are going to come through in their role and if they don’t, know that they’ll get it next time. Because you’ll mess up at some point, too, and be hoping for that same forgiveness.
One player doesn’t ultimately make or break a team and I believe that high school football players know that to be true. In virtually every interview with one of these guys, when I talk to them about their goals or the season in general, they will say at some point, “we have to play together as a team,” “it doesn’t take just one guy,” and other variations of those phrases. That’s why community amongst these young men is so key. They come together on and off the field, because they know that a close-knit team will lead to better results. When they finally come together and have that undefeated season or become that unlikely conference champion, they’ll have a lot of guys with the same passion, heart, and mindset surrounding them to remember it for years to come.
- Sean Fisher is an Emmy-Award winning filmmaker and sports videographer. He has worked exclusively at the NCAA Division I level shooting and producing videos for football, soccer, volleball, men's basketball, and softball. He joined the Storied Rivals team in the summer of 2013 as our lead filmmaker. To contact Sean with any feature ideas or to chat you can shoot him an email firstname.lastname@example.org.