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It's Our Turn: The monster that is Texas HS football

High school football is popular in Minnesota, but the Upper Midwest has nothing quite like the insanity that sweeps Texas every fall.

The demands of Texas football were made apparent last week when a monster high school stadium in Allen, Texas grabbed national headlines.

Less than two years after the taxpayers of Allen approved the construction of a $60 million stadium in a bond vote, cracks started forming in the large structure.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the stadium has been temporarily closed and future events cancelled after cracks formed from what may have been “poor concrete work and improper structural design of reinforcing steel.”

This must have been quite a blow after residents of Allen decided to fund the construction of a $60 million high school football stadium in the first place. This monster structure holds 18,000 people and unnecessarily features private luxury suites and an HD video scoreboard.

This stadium is more lavish than almost every college football stadium in Minnesota, except the new home of the Gophers, TCF Bank Stadium.

The idea to build a lavish stadium first came up after the school said an old stadium with a capacity of 14,200 people was no longer large enough to fit the Friday night football crowds. Allen Eagle Stadium is only the fifth largest high school football complex in Texas as far as capacity, though it is the largest built for just one team.

Alamo Stadium in San Antonio is actually the largest high school stadium in Texas with a capacity of 23,000.

But supersized stadiums are not the only indicator of Texas football lore. They also enjoy showing off their youth football on reality television.

The newly formed Esquire TV channel features a reality show about Texas youth football called Friday Night Tykes.

This reality show followed five teams of 8 and 9 year olds through life on and off the field during their football seasons last fall. Basically, this television show films parents as they scream at their kids to play through the pain, hurt members of opposing teams and beg for a berth in the league’s playoffs.

If $60 million high school stadiums and reality TV shows featuring 8-year-old athletes sounds good to you, then you are primed for Texas football.

Personally, I think the excitement for Minnesota high school sports is plenty enough. I am sure most people in Alexandria would agree with me when I say footing the bill for a monster high school football stadium would be unacceptable. The estimated total cost to construct Alexandria Area High School was around $70.5 million, only about $10 million more than it cost to construct a football stadium in Texas.

I am perfectly fine watching football in an average-sized high school stadium. I like my sports with a side of sanity.

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“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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