News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Flashpoint

August 18, 2011

FLASHPOINT: 5-dollar Friday nights

Five dollars doesn’t go very far these days, does it? You can’t go to a movie, have lunch at your favorite restaurant or buy much more than a gallon of gas for five bucks. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that, beginning this Friday night, an evening loaded with wholesome, family-friendly, action-packed entertainment can be yours in exchange for a five-dollar bill.

It’s “Friday Night Lights,” Hoosier style, and all the fun and pageantry starts this Friday night at most Indiana high schools.

Here’s more good news. Parking is free, and the popcorn, hot dogs and soft drinks are a bargain, too. In fact, a family of four can attend a football game at its neighborhood high school for about $30 and have a great time. 

As good as it already is, this value proposition gets even better. Every dollar you spend will go toward your high school’s operating budget instead of players’ salaries, stadium overhead and team profit. You might even think of “game night” as an investment in your school and community instead of an expenditure.

Consider this: If just 100 more people in your community attend five home football games this season than last, over $2,500 new dollars will be added to the coffers of your high school. If 100 new families of four attend five home games this football season, school revenue will increase by about $15,000. That’s great news for challenged schools’ budgets.

You’re sure to be entertained, too. The cheerleaders, marching bands, conference rivalries, homecoming celebrations, and colorful mascots make attending a high school football game in Indiana well worth the price of admission.

But as any college head coach will tell you, the quality of prep football in Indiana has radically improved during the last decade, and it continues to get better every season. So no matter where you go this Friday night, you’re likely to see exciting, competitive high school football.

By the way, it’s OK if you paint your face, put on a rally hat, sing your school song and cheer for the home team. That’s what spending five dollars on Friday night really is all about.

Bobby Cox is commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association headquartered in Indianapolis.

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