Heat affects more than players at high school football games

2014-08-22T20:00:00Z 2014-08-23T00:16:09Z Heat affects more than players at high school football gamesBy Chris Gove | STLhighschoolsports.com stltoday.com

CHESTERFIELD • Even with kickoff pushed back an hour because of extreme heat and humidity, the show still went on Friday night at Parkway Central for its season-opening football game against Summit.

Concern for the players’ well-being was the reason the game, and many around the state, moved its start back to 8 p.m. instead of the regularly scheduled 7 p.m.

But well before the contest started, the support system of fans, volunteers and other student organizations such as the band and cheerleaders already were hard at work.

That included grill duty for a few lucky fathers of band students — Scott Sellers, Mike South and Todd Jones. Sellers had a pretty unique perspective on slaving over an open fire with the temperature above 90 degrees.

“It actually feels kind of cool over here when you’ve been close to the grill,” Sellers said, standing about 15 feet away from the cooking hamburgers. “So it’s all relative.”

One noticeable difference because of the weather was a concession for Parkway Central’s band.

The band students were allowed to wear matching t-shirts and shorts instead of their full uniforms. It was an allowance because of the extreme heat, and junior trumpet player Alex Ke said if it was just a normal kind of hot — perhaps 85 degrees with less humidity — then “We’d be spiffed out.”

Megan Grazman, a senior saxophone player, said band director Doug Hoover told the band students Tuesday they’d be able to dress more comfortably for the game.

And of course the weather was extreme for a football game.

“It was in the 70s all through July,” Grazman said. “And then it becomes 90s in August.”

Paul Woodland made the trek to the game with his girlfriend Leona Barron so he watch his nephew, John McClure, play for Summit.

They didn’t know the kickoff had been pushed back an hour, so they were the first people in the visiting stands and claimed seats on the 50-yard line. An extra hour of discomfort would be worth it to watch the game.

“I’m dedicated,” Woodland said. “I didn’t think it was going to be (so hot), but I’m not disappointed.”

Matt Markelz is in his 10th year as an athletic trainer at Parkway Central, and he said the mild summer made Friday’s weather even more extreme than it might be normally.

Pushing kickoffs back and even postponing games in other sports was the right call in his mind for the safety of the athletes.

“The last thing you want to be doing is making the news for unnecessary things,” Markelz said.

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