Friday Flashback: Tuning Into High School Football Games


Last Friday night I had to laugh at myself.  I had retreated to another room to listen to a high school football game on my iPhone app.  In addition to that, I also pulled up video streaming of another game on my computer as well as frequently checking the scores on my iPAD.  I glanced in the corner to see my radio sitting there in silence.  I remembered that the radio was my only source of coverage before all of this technology came into existence.

What’s even more amazing is that I’m listening to Georgia high school football games while sitting in my room in Nashville, Tennessee.   This wasn’t something I could have done 10 years ago.  The technology just hadn’t gotten to where it is today.

I thought back to a game I tuned into on my old transistor radio in 1979 in my room of our mobile home in Villa Rica, Georgia.  It was the Class 7AA region semifinal playoff game between Villa Rica and East Rome.  The weather outside was nasty which was one reason I wasn’t at them game and the fact it was being played at Barron Stadium in Rome, Georgia.  My bedroom was located at the rear of the mobile home and I carefully placed my radio and tilted the antenna so I could pick up the coverage of the game.  At times the signal was strong but it would waver.  I had to intently listen next to the radio.  Yes, this was before wifi and Bluetooth headphones.  Villa Rica kicked a field goal in the game and held on to defeat the two-time defending Class AA state champions 3-0.

Through the years I have huddled next to the best radio and reception I could find for games I could not attend in person.  I remember many times listening in the car parked in the driveway because that was the best reception I could get.

Unlike today, I couldn’t get scores from other games.  I remember waiting impatiently on Saturday mornings to go to the nearest newspaper machines and buying the Saturday paper so I can see the scores.  Sometimes I could only see the scores listed in the header of the front page through the machine.  If I wanted more details I would have to go to the library to find a copy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Yes, the media report wasn’t like it is today.

Today I can stream almost any game that a school is doing.  There are so many options now.  If I want to know how Villa Rica is doing now, I can go to the local newspaper’s website.  If I want to check on how my cousins alma mater in Columbia County, Florida is doing, I can search for information on Google.  If I want to know if my dad is celebrating a win with his Clinch County Panthers, I can subscribe to a Twitter feed on my iPhone.  It’s a lot different time than it used to be.

Years ago, I discovered the Georgia High School Football Scoreboard show and now I catch it most every Friday night and listen to who I call THE voice of Georgia High School Football, Tommy Palmer.  Although I live in Tennessee now, his South Georgia voice brings me back home.

When they play the state championship games in Atlanta they will now be in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  In the past when they started in the Georgia Dome, all the games started being broadcast on Georgia Public Television.  One year I bought a handheld TV and took it to my work and watched/listened to the games while working.  Now the games are streamed live.

When I lived in Warner Robins, Georgia, I would watch Football Friday Night on WMAZ Channel 13 on Friday Nights after the late news.  I rarely missed a show.  While I can’t catch the live broadcast now, I can still watch the highlights on the station’s app on my Roku device.

Having lived in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, I will scan the various news apps and check up on local high school highlights on Saturday mornings.  Although I’m not much into Tennessee High School Football games as I am with Georgia, I still check the highlights to see how the local teams are doing.  Crazy, maybe.  It’s just my thing.  I grew up as Georgia High School football games being my only entertainment outlet in a strict religious environment.  At least at the time, high school football games were one of the few enjoyments that wasn’t a sin.

So as I think ahead to tonight’s games, I know my first team has the week off after a thrilling 38-35 win last week so I’ll have a rare week where I will stream another team into my “listening” room.

It’s still funny to me that with all the devices I use to listen to high school football games, the radio is the only one silent on Friday nights.   Perhaps I will go old school tonight and see what I find on the radio.

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