How does Las Vegas Compare to S.D. high school football?South Dakota’s high school Friday night football lights really aren’t anything compared to Las Vegas’ shine and glamour. Why would someone even want to compare the two?
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
South Dakota’s high school Friday night football lights really aren’t anything compared to Las Vegas’ shine and glamour.
Why would someone even want to compare the two?
Well, earlier this week my wife and I spent our fourth wedding anniversary in the same town we spent our honeymoon: Sin City.
And Friday night in Emery, during a Cornbelt Conference game between Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan and Howard, I couldn’t help but think of the differences and similarities between a night in Las Vegas and a night at a high school football game.
The first and probably most obvious comparison is the glow of Vegas that can be seen from miles away. The Luxor — a 30-story, pyramid-shaped hotel on the main strip of the city — has what is claimed to be the brightest beam in the world at more than 42.3 billion candle power.
Although it’s nowhere near as bright, Emery’s football field was easily visible at least 10 miles from the small town. The lights were fired up as the teams prepared to take the field, and the South Dakota sunset was creeping below the horizon as the first half grew older. The view in Vegas was great, sure. But one of the greatest sights in the world is a South Dakota sunset.
And despite it being a “warm” South Dakota evening Friday in late September at about 70, I wore a light jacket and kept the cool away. In Vegas all this week, shorts were mandatory during the day in the hot, dry desert. Most often, it was uncomfortable, and being in the air-conditioning during the 95-degree days was a must.
Dressed in my more preferred attire Friday, I noticed plenty of Seahawk fans wearing in blue, white and silver surrounding the field. I asked a couple of people to excuse me as I made my way under the ropes that separate game-watchers and the players and coaches so I could get closer for action photos. Beyond getting a polite smile and my wish granted, a local farmer whose land I hunted for geese last fall made sure to ask how I’ve been and anything new I’ve been up to.
The only small talk in Vegas was made at the table games with randoms who were normally winning. Besides that, it seems like everyone in that town is focused on their priorities and making sure they get the seat at the hottest slot machine.
South Dakota’s “Midwest nice” is always appreciated.
Howard, on its first drive of the game, engineered a nice touchdown capped by a Luke Loudenburg catch from quarterback Landon Laible. The sophomore running back handed the referee the ball after the Tigers took a 6-0 lead and never needed the limelight. There was no bragging or show-boating. It was great. Later in the first quarter, Seahawks assistant coach Tim Hawkins immediately chewed out a player for celebrating too much after making a strong defensive play near the sideline that stopped a Tigers drive.
On the opposite hand, there are people in Vegas that do nothing but try and grab the limelight. Walking along the main strip, night entertainers lined the streets hoping to impress the passers for some money. Fremont Street, an off-strip area that’s known as the second-most famous street in Vegas, had people everywhere begging for money and trying to grab attention. Several were scantily-clad, others were just annoying, but because of that moment I was almost embarrassed to be a human being.
It’s impossible to say the entertainment in Vegas is even close to a Friday night football game. Vegas rules, no doubt. There are hotels that allow bungee-jumping, fountains at the Bellagio that attract thousands nightly and buffets that are ranked among the best in the world.
The opportunities are limitless in the city that never sleeps.
Though, as the Seahawks trailed at halftime Friday night and came back to win 28-26, the people in Bridgewater, Emery, Ethan and Howard will have something to talk about until next Friday night. The Seahawks’ powerful offense, which scored a 63-yard touchdown on its first offensive play, is among the best in 9-man football this year. Howard, suffering its second tough loss of the season, has a strong defense and a balanced attack on offense.
When driving back to Mitchell Friday, I sure noticed it’s nice to be back and enjoy a night of high school football in South Dakota. Our Vegas vacation was enjoyable and will probably continue once in every four-or-so years, but Friday night football in the fall will always be more attractive to me on a routine basis.
The lights may not be as bright and there aren’t endless miles of casinos or world-known eateries. Instead there are great people, great football and memories that last just as long as a Vegas vacation.