The Travel Professor
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Play ball!

Playing football in northeastern Ohio in the summer months can be brutal. It can be summed up in two words: heat and humidity. Watching games of the 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship this past weekend at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium left me soaked and sun fried.

Having spent many summers up here on the gridiron coaching high school and college ball I was prepared for the elements. My kit consisted of plenty of SPF 60 sun block, a few towels, spare t-shirts and a cooler full of water and OJ.

The quality of play was good but what really impressed me was the crowd. It was a festive, carnival like atmosphere something you do not experience around here in high school football. NOTE: Most of the players were of high school age or recent graduates.

The cheering, noisemaking and waving of country flags reminded me of fans at international soccer tournaments that I’ve seen. Fans from the participating teams (I mean countries) apparently had flocked in mass to Canton and supported their national teams.

The Viking helmets complete with REAL not plastic horns were the dead give always for the supporters of the Swedish team.

There are a few more days of competition this week so if you’re having a football craving head up I-77 North to Canton OH.

A little change of topic-hopefully this enthusiasm carries over to the incoming soccer tournaments in the Barboursville area. Drive on over and check out the games. spend some time and better yet a few bucks.

Even better yet if you can volunteer some time and help make these games a success contact the fine folks at the Huntington-Cabell County Convention and Visitors Bureau and let them know you want to assist.

My schedule is packed but if I had the chance I'd be on the soccer pitches.