Senator John Thune
Tune in to the radio on a Friday night in South Dakota and it is hard not to find a station carrying a high school football game. From Belle Fourche to Kimball to Milbank, high school football is a time-honored tradition in our state. The hot summer afternoons give way to crisp fall nights, and under the lights of the football field the pep band plays, the cheerleaders lead the crowd in the school song, and parents take turns manning the concession stand, trying not to miss too much of the game.
I have fond memories of my time playing high school football. I still remember the sweltering hot August practice days, the feeling of a new pair of cleats, and my nervous energy as I walked onto the field for the season opener. We had some great times out on the football field playing for the Jones County High School Coyotes. While we always played to win, I recognize the tremendous life lessons outside the wins and losses that the team instilled in me.
Football, along with so many student activities, teaches our students the value of teamwork, sportsmanship, and dedication. The competition and hard work required to succeed in extracurricular activities instill values and skills that will serve students far beyond their high school years. Responsibility to teammates and coaches teaches students the value of self-discipline. And even defeat on the field teaches our teenagers the value of perseverance in trying times.
From the road trips, to the big wins and losses, to the homecoming game reuniting friends and family, football season brings communities together to celebrate the success and hard work of our student athletes. With another exciting football season upon us, I wish all student athletes, coaches, and fans a successful and healthy 2014 fall season.