The Mustangs are going to the Stadium.
Those were the only seven words I needed to utter to my children last week for them to know what I meant. For those who have missed all the excitement of the past few weeks, the Oakdale High School varsity football team has been invited to play against Manteca at the newly built 49er Levi’s Stadium.
I won’t be shy in saying, it’s a big deal.
One need not be a 49er fan or have a player on the Oakdale Mustang team to recognize (I hope) what a unique opportunity this is for our young men, their families and the town as a whole.
Oh, sure I know it’s just football. ‘What about academics?’ ‘All we care about in this town is sports.’ I’ve heard it all, more than once. As a person who has watched many students cross the stage of OHS and advance to careers in medicine, the military, technology and even entertainment I could not disagree more. Personally I think our Aca Dec record says it well enough.
So back to football. On Saturday October 11 at 1 p.m. sharp a group of young men will take to the field of a professional stadium. Some will have dreamt of playing in such a place their entire lives. Some will wonder how in the world they landed there, most will be changed forever.
There is something about that bigger than life moment, that happens every now and again. That moment you find yourself in a place where you wonder if you’re dreaming or what did you do right to get so lucky?
Of course there is the faint outside chance that the team hosts one or two jaded players. My gut tells me the coaching staff will make sure they understand the honor which has been bestowed upon our small town in the Central Valley.
So back to that opening sentence, those seven words. I uttered them to my children last week after I had purchased our tickets. They knew of the announcement the week before and hoped we would be able to go ‘watch our friends’ play but that remained unknown.
‘Did you get tickets?’ was the question that was a result of my statement. My answer a resounding ‘yes,’ complete with details of who else would be there and what were our weekend plans.
My son promptly looked at me from his passenger seat and said, ‘Thank you mommy. You always make sure we make the big events in our town.’
Truthfully, I’m not sure what to make of those words. I do recognize this to be indeed a ‘big event.’ I do feel fortunate that our family has the means (however slight) to travel to the game and spend the day with other families from this town and root on our team.
I’ve shared it before; we are not a ‘football’ family. We are not the family faithfully at the sidelines every Friday night like so many of you. We are, however, proud members of this community, as well as 49er fans.
It’s bound to be both epic and memorable.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.