Jay Taft: Watching a son play football for Rochelle is exciting

Jay Taft: Watching a son play football for Rochelle is exciting

It’s hard to put into words what it feels like to play high school football, it felt like walking out of the locker room and out of our little tunnel to the sights and sounds of a crowded Friday night football stadium, oh many years ago.

And that was a little, old Rochelle – where the scene appeared again last Friday night as it happened in the state and the whole country.

I always thought there was nothing to compare to the feeling of raising the roof of the stadium, as they would say back then, with the crowd cheering for a touchdown. (Which I’ve done three times in my prep career, by the way.)

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But then I experienced what it was like to watch my son do all those fun things (well, almost all those things; we’re still waiting for TD’s return).

I realize that I may have found one thing too high for me. He’s doing it, while I’m watching.

Back where it all began

Of course, when I watched my son, Rochelle on the shoulder of senior Trey Taft, at times cutting and cutting his way through the Woodstock defense on Friday, I took it back to the first time I took him out to the back to throw the ball. See the article : Former Alton dance instructor cheerleaders for cowboys. That goofy, smiling kid with a missing front tooth couldn’t be happier than he was at that moment.

Or so I thought. He was so excited again when he turned to give me a hug and a high five after helping his Hubs to a 14-7 season-opening victory on Friday night.

He was always emotional. I think I have a good idea where he got that from.

But when he steps on (or, indeed, near) a football field, he finds a different kind of intensity about him. Again, I know who handed that gene to him.

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He is very much like me, inside and out. It showed Friday night, both in his stop-and-go juke walk, and the smile that was plastered across his face. (I couldn’t see my face, but I’m sure my smile was the same.)

While he wasn’t all that excited about 62 yards on 13 carries, he did add a big 39-yard reception, and an open-field, game-saving performance late in the game that proved to hold up.

I couldn’t be prouder, even if the big plays weren’t thrown there.

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They told me

I can still hear my father, Jim May, telling me the exact same thing. Read also : Texans rising star QB grew up as an Atlanta Falcons fan.

“I told you then,” he said recently. “It’s a lot cooler to watch your son do it than to do it yourself. It’s a different pride, you know.”

May was the quarterback for the Hubs in the 60s; I was a Hubs back in the 80s; and now Trey is doing his thing in the Hubs ’20s for Thanksgiving.

“After all the COVID stuff started hitting when I was in first grade,” Trey told me last week, “I’m just excited to get out on the field and play… It gives you a different feeling, as ‘Now we have it; we appreciate what we have now.’ “

And that was even before he felt a little under the weather Thursday, which turned into an all-day nap and pre-game-day dread. He woke up feeling better on Friday morning and passed the home COVID-19 test, luckily.

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No other feeling like it

I have a grown daughter, Haley, who was the varsity cheerleader on Friday nights at Rochelle, and I just got a soccer player. On the same subject : Eagles Cheerleader Kyle Tanguay reflects on the life-changing American Idol experience. There were two, and another cheerleader, Roxy, was coming up through the ranks.

I love them all the same, of course.

But it sure is hard to replace the adrenaline rush you get from playing (or cheering) in front of your whole town for that Friday night football experience.

Now I’ve found a satisfying alternative: Watch your kids do it.

Jay Taft is a sports reporter for the Rockford Register Star. Email him at jtaft@rrstar.com and follow him on Twitter @JayTaft. Sign up for the Rockford High School newsletter at rrstar.com. Jay has covered a variety of sports, from the Chicago Bears to youth sports, for more than 20 years with the Star Register, and nearly 30 years together. He was a quadriplegic himself and a father of five who went on to become a comedian of sorts as well.

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