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With the start of football season so early, many communities in South Dakota have been forced to choose between family and football.

Dear SDHSAA WE still have STUFF going on in August
Sep 4, 2017

By Rich Winter

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day festivities. Big weekend to kinda end the summer and get back to the grind of school and sports and all that stuff....Seems odd that September just rolled around and most of the high school teams already have three games in the books.


Find this kind of interesting how the South Dakota High School Activities Association moved up the start of the high-school football season by a week this year. Was actually shocked when I learned about this in June and wondered seriously who is making these kinds of decisions and are they really thinking about the rural communities in South Dakota that these types of desisions affect?


Had a really good Facebook conversation with St. Francis football coach, Ryan Holy Eagle the other day. We have this conversation just about every year because even though St. Francis opened their season on the 25th, the summer isn't close to being finished on the Rosebud Reservation on the 25th. Right smack dab in the middle of the start of football season is a gigantic end-of-the-year, Rosebud Fair. It is of major cultural significance to the Native Americans that attend this event with dancing, and carnival and Lakota Hand Games and mud-races and rodeo and really just a coming together of thousands of people to celebrate the end of the summer. 


And Holy Eagle feels it every year as student/athletes who aren't quite ready to call the summer quits just don't show up for practice until the Fair and even Labor Day is over. 


St. Francis had an awesome season a year ago, going 4-5, but, Holy Eagle had to replace 14 graduated seniors. That's tough in St. Francis and it showed up at the first game at CEB when the bus was loaded down with just 13 players for an 11-man game, that's tough. 


Noticed this weekend that CEB had their big end of the year Fair/Wacipi/Celebration. Always TUFF when kids have to choose between something that is culturaly significant to them and an extra-curricular activity like football.


Speaking of cultural activities, what about rodeo?


Why is it that the first-weekend of football coincided with the state 4-H rodeo? Did anyone at the SDHSAA look into this before they made their decision to move the schedule up one week?


* Did the SDHSAA take into account that a lot of these kids/football players are still working on their farms and ranches and such, kind of plowing through the summer so the family business would be taken care of before dad had to go it alone in September. 


I look around Facebook today and I see folks like Billie Jo Indahl from Burke/South-Central out on the Missouri River enjoying their last big weekend of the summmer, even though the boys team started play three weeks ago. 


Caught wind of a really interesting conversation on Facebook a couple of weeks ago regrading the early start of the school year. It seems one faction suggest that research shows that starting school earlier leads to better grades and better attendence...The other side of that story, says, NOT IN SOUTH DAKOTA IT DOESN'T!


Seemed like a very short summer this year. Track gets over the first week of June, and football camps started around Aug. 5...That's like a two month break where rural families are just getting going before its time to go back to school.


Really like for this issue to be examined again by the SDHSAA. Tons of people in South Dakota are still doing stuff, some of it very cultural and personal (pow-wows and rodeo and family vacations). Not sure that forcing kids to choose between something that is part of their DNA vs. something they do for fun in the fall is the right way to go. 


Just thinking out loud this morning....Enjoy the Holiday everyone....It's gonna be a great fall. 


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