Friday night football means fun time for many at Hinsdale Central
Hinsdale Police Officer Steve Ruban talks to J. T. Pyle (center with football) and (from left) Charlie Huth, Abiti McGann and Luke Pyle who play for the Hinsdale Falcon youth league during Friday's varsity game at Hinsdale Central. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Tim
Updated: October 1, 2012 3:31PM
HINSDALE — More than 2,000 people showed up Friday at Hinsdale Central for the annual beginning of a fall tradition: Friday night football.
Those in attendance came in a large variety of ages, sizes and reasons for being there. Young children who have older siblings on the football team, in the band, or part of the cheerleading or poms squads were there along with the parents of students who fit into any of the aforementioned groups. There also were grandparents, other relatives and friends who came. And there were people from the community who just like to attend football games.
“I’ve been coming to football games here off and on since 1975,” said Dave Wasz, a Clarendon Hills resident who graduated in 1981 from Central. “I have two kids, a freshman and a junior, here, but they play other sports. I like to come to the football games because it’s great seeing old faces, and I like supporting the community and team.”
Support of the football team by the community is very important, said Dan Jones, who is in his first year as Central’s athletic director after holding the same job for seven years at DeKalb High School.
“The people from the community who continue to come out carry on the tradition and history,” Jones said. “It really means a lot to the players when people come out to watch them play. The players know they represent the community, and the kids want to do well when there are people in the stands.”
John Delaney moved to Clarendon Hills in 2002 and has been coming to football games at Central ever since. His two children graduated in 2009 and 2010, but he continues attending games and contributing as a member of the school’s booster club.
“I started with the boosters eight years ago,” he said. “I used to walk the track here and was asked to get involved. My kids graduated, but I still love coming to the games. I like sports, and it’s a great feeling giving something back. It really is all about a sense of community and the school for most of the people who come to the games.”
Chuck Shankland, 73, moved to Hinsdale five years ago and has a grandson, junior Michael Lord, who plays football. But while family is the main attraction, Shankland said he enjoys every aspect of Friday night football.
“I like the people and the program here,” he said. “I really do look forward to Friday nights during football season. I don’t think I’ll ever leave it.”
Hinsdale resident Derrick Willman’s son, Reed, plays on the freshman team. But that didn’t prevent Willman from showing up for Friday’s varsity football game and bringing 9-year-old son Bennett with him.
“I like to come and support the community,” Willman said
Bennett said he enjoys watching football. He also plans to play for the Red Devils when he’s old enough to attend high school.
“I want to be the quarterback,” he said.
While the actual game is the focus of Friday nights during football season at Central, it isn’t the most important aspect of the evening for all.
“It’s a good social get-together,” said 13-year-old eighth-grader Mia Randell of Hinsdale. “I’ve been coming since I was about 7. I watch halftime and some of the plays.”