The first thing you heard was the steady click click of cleats on sidewalk. Even before you saw them, two by two, marching down River Street to St. Peter’s Field, you heard the Mt. St. Joseph Academy football team.

Click click. Click Click.

When I think of the start of the high school football season, I always think of that. That two block walk from the school, from Convent Avenue up Meadow Street to River Street, to St. Peter’s Field on a Saturday afternoon back home in Rutland, Vermont.

In MSJ’s heyday, in the 1970’s, ’80’s and 90’s, that click click was the drumbeat of success. The Mounties of that generation collected state championships the way avid coin collectors snap up rarities, with enthusiasm and frequency.

The click click was an entrance hymn, The click click was a warning siren to whatever opponent happened to prowl the visitor’s sideline at St. Peter’s Field that day.

The high school football season begins on Friday. What do you think of when you think of your favorite team?

In Winslow, do they think of the days when the mill across the street from Poulin Field belched smoke that hung over the field? Do they think of the Black Raiders emerging from the basement of the junior high school and running on to the field?

In Fairfield, do the fans think of crowds six or seven people deep, all pushing against the rope fence surrounding Keyes Field, all trying to get as close to the field as possible? All making as much noise as possible?

At Cony, do they think of beating Gardiner? At Gardiner, do they think of beating Cony?

At Messalonskee, do they think of the Eagle statue just beyond the south end zone? At Skowhegan, do they think of the lights illuminating Clark Field against the dark background of fields behind the high school?

At Waterville, they have their own click click, the soundtrack of the short walk from the locker room to Drummond Field.

At Mt. Blue, where the Cougars will play on a new field this season, maybe they think of the old Caldwell Field. Cougars of the most recent vintage may think of the short bus ride from school to Kemp Field, where the foundation of last season’s state championship, the team’s first state championship in 32 years.

In places like Mt. View, places where football is still in its infancy, what do they think of? Last season, the Mustangs played at their high school for the first time. No more home games in Belfast. No more home games on a field converted from a horse pasture miles from school.

Maybe you think of great games you saw. Maybe you think of certain players. Maybe, when the high school football season starts, you think of smells, of hot dogs and fall air. Maybe you think of cool Friday nights, or warm Saturday afternoons.

Every school has traditions. Every fan has memories.

It’s coming. Do you feel it? Do you hear it?

Click click.

Click click.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]