October 12 Wilton Miners are no more

Wilton Miners Football mascot

You will never see this again.  It does not exist.

There is no more Wilton Miners Football team.  This night was their last home game as the Wilton Miners.  From now on, the Miners’ identity is merged with that of the Washburn Cardinals to become come the Southern Mclean Roughriders.

A new identity

The students of both schools (Washburn and Wilton) voted to form the new co-op for 9-man football.

On the last night of home turf play, the Miners lined up against whom else but The Cardinals.  Here their opponent.  Next season, their teammate.

The Miners got spanked pretty hard in this game, so it appears it will be to their advantage to merge with the stronger Cardinals.  But I don’t think that will make it any easier. School pride will be eroded a bit.  Personal and school identity will be a bit more vaporized.

Both Washburn and Wilton are losing something.  Like many small North Dakota towns that lose their railroad, their businesses, their schools, this is progress of a deteriorating sort, a kind of devolution.

September 3

Wilton Miners HS football


Huddle time

Friday night lights.  It’s a small town tradition, meeting at the high school football field for a little early evening entertainment with your neighbors.  It happens in larger cities, too, but

I’ve noticed that in smaller towns, it’s more of a community event, not just a school-supporter event.  For me, it’s easy to catch a home game because the football field is on the other side of the block. It is the last point of the city before the wheat fields and shelterbelts begin their stretch across the horizon.

The young men in identical garb, identified only by their numbers draw the community to the sidelines.  The players are there to compete, to prove their young manhood, to execute their learned maneuvers and plays.

However, it’s not just the players who are there with purpose.  Their support staff includes a host of schoolmate performing their duties.

Cheerleaders of course are among the most visible and photographic, too!  They’re just as focused on their “plays” or their routines as the players on the field.  Like the players, they’re there with purpose.

They are making their own memories and their own personalities are forming even as they watch the game, plan their routines and perform for the crowd.

Equally vital to the Friday night activities are two other groups.  The statisticians are there to keep the information the coaches and players need to formulate and execute their plays.

And then there  is the concession stand. It’s where everyone seems to end up sooner or later and frankly it’s where most of the community chatter (gossip?) can be exchanged.  The wait-staff of high school students and advisors provide the hot food, hot coffee and cold soda pop over which neighbors chat while the game goes on.

Yeah, it’s Friday night lights.

Though it’s harvest season when tractors, combines and other equipment are in full operation this time of year, they all seem to pause on Friday night while an entire collection of subcultures interact and support the community event.

September 2

Wilton Miners Jr. Hi football

There are some things that are just plain fun to shoot — like the Wilton Miners Junior High matchups.

When I’m not shooting or writing for industrial purposes, or shooting weddings, portraits or senior pictures, I like to shoot this kind of “memory.”  Of course it helps that the football field is on the other side of the block from where I live. 

So, when I hear the official’s whistle I know there’s some action by which I will be entertained and will be able to capture some images of these future Brett Favre’s.

They certainly play some of the most physical and acrobatic football that I’ve seen in sometime.  They throw themselves in to each play, it would seem.

I’m not sure how many will continue their football career, but at this stage I’m rooting for all of them to keep on — especially since it gives me something fun to shoot on a late fall afternoon.

This being a Thursday night, I know that the big kids are gonna take over the field tomorrow night, probably under the lights. So for now, this full sun opportunity to catch some action is an easy task with the light being as it is. I can freeze action and get clean and clear shots that wouldn’t be as likely as under lights.  Again, this is another example of the Golden Hour, when photography comes alive, when shadows are long, contrasts are good and the light is right.

(To my own dismay, I didn’t keep my eye on the action to see whether this receiver actually got away from the block to catch the ball that was headed his way.  I know I wouldn’t have.)