Spirit: Pure and simple
There is a vast difference between being a fan for big-time professional and college sports, and being a fan of those same sports in high school.
With prep sports, there is a more palatable sense of tradition — one that you and your friends took part in or actually shaped.
Millions of people can say that in regards to high school sports.
Only the smallest percentage can say it in regards to the professional level.
Sure, the big time boasts a sea of cameras and slick ESPN newscasters. The athletes are finely tuned machines, loathed if they make a mistake.
At preps, miscues and turnovers are standard, but there’s no buffer-zone reinforced by security guards who prevent fans from wishing good luck to the athletes.
High schools invite parents and supporters onto the fields and courts to share in their children’s accomplishments and to be part of the “entertainment” rather than just watching it.
Pete Padilla and his wife both attended Bernalillo High School.
Now, their daughter, Ashley, is a junior and member of the homecoming court there.
“They’re here to do it for their parents and fans, not for the cameras,” said Padilla, pictured here keeping Ashley warm at a Sept. 22 football game in which the Bernalillo Spartans defeated the West Las Vegas Dons.
“It’s more pure.”