Friday night football: a fan's perspective
ELKHART, Ind.-- For the first time since the official merger of Memorial and Central High School at the start of the school year, the Elkhart High School Lions stepped onto the field as a unified team Friday night.
“The excitement is just crazy right now because you know we’ve been waiting a long time to play a football game, our schools have been in the process of merging over the last 3 or 4 years, and now this is the first time we actually get to compete on the football field as Elkhart united or as one team,” Elkhart Community School Athletic Director Brian Buckley said.
Along with adjusting to new changes as football team, other adjustments had to me made both on the field and in the stands because of the coronavirus.
Elkhart’s Athletic Director Brian Buckley said that in order for things to go smoothly, that fans need to step up and follow safety guidelines.
“This is about the kids, this isn’t about the fans or the people coming here to watch the games it’s really about the kids so we need to follow protocol, and protocol tonight will be you must have a mask on to enter,” Buckley said. “We’re going to support social distancing, we’re going to be announcing it, we have signs up, we’re going to have washing stations, we’re going to try really hard to protect our kids and our workers.”
During a normal season the stands can hold around 10,000 fans, but only about 2,100 seats were available for tonight's game because of capacity cuts, and those seats were filled with excited fans!
“We’re excited that we can come and I’m all ready to social distance and all that so I’m glad that we can do this,” Elkhart football parent Teish Holmes said.
“It’s extremely exciting, it’s so great just to be outside and watching the kids that they’ve worked so hard and now they’re getting rewarded to be out and doing what they love,” Elkhart football fan Delicia Huckleberry said.
Fellow student lions in the student section were feeling just the same!
“Oh yeah we’re hype for sure! I’m glad everything came through and we’re here,” Elkhart students said.
While some were a bit concerned to come out, folks felt confident in Elkhart High School’s protocols to keep them safe.
“I’m particularly because i have a health condition but I feel that they’ve taken the extra precautions so I could come and watch my student,” Huckleberry said.
“I think they’re doing the best that they can. They’re like keeping us apart; they’re keeping us in line. They told us to put our shirts back on that’s the only problem I had today,” students said.
“As long as they enforce what they say, we need to have masks to get in and if they’re going to stop it at a certain capacity and we have some space between us, i think it’s great and it’s a great opportunity for the community to get out here and support our new Elkhart lions,” Holmes said.
Tickets for Elkhart’s game didn’t quite hit max capacity, but they did sell over 1,400 tickets.