By Olga Pena
Killeen Daily Herald
Let me warn you. I don't know much about sports and I'm not going to report on any play-by-play. But this is a community column, and if you want to experience community, just go to a Copperas Cove Bulldawgs game.
Blue glitter, Dawgs shirts, hats, pigtails and pom-poms – my children and I were decked out in all things Cove Bulldawgs as we sat under the Friday night lights.
It was the first game of the season and – like every other home game in Cove – that stadium was packed.
Surveying the sea of blue is amazing. Before the first kick even neared, the loyal fans cheered, whistled, rang bells, waved flags and danced.
Meanwhile Copperettes, cheerleaders, the flag line and band proudly took their positions, flashing glittering uniforms and preparing to help welcome the blue and gold hometown heroes onto the field.
Yes, those boys stomped San Angelo Central in a 65-6 win. But that's just the numbers. What is truly electrifying is watching the community react with each touchdown.
Nachos went flying each time those boys scored, and my little girl jumped up to shake her pom-poms and scream at the top of her lungs. "Did you see that," Elizabeth would yell.
It was the first time my children, at 5 and 6, were old enough to truly get what was going on and understand the game.
And Elizabeth wasn't the only one in Cove cheerleader gear. With each stellar play, the stands erupted with cheers from the tiniest of football players and cheerleaders, each dreaming of the day they'd be out there.
But Cove fans come in all shapes, ages and sizes. In wheelchairs, carrying a baby sling, sporting the "I'm No. something's Dad" shirts and chatting about who's dating who, while watching their peers perform – they were as different as could be but shared the common goal of cheering those Bulldawgs on.
I delighted in seeing the scene unfold and taking part of the conversations … "haven't seen you in a while," "goodness, your daughter has grown," "aren't you so and so's mom," "oh yeah, I don't miss a game," "hey, don't know you but you're sitting next to me so we'll be fast friends before the night is through."
That's so true. Besides bumping in to everyone you've every met in Copperas Cove, the Friday night game also means not meeting a stranger. You'll find yourself high-fiving and hip-bumping people whose name you may never know. It's great!
Sure, many things were spilled on my jeans, Daniel spent more time asking for Dawg trinkets than actually watching the game and we dragged ourselves home at 10:30 after a long week of work and school. But it was worth it.
I watched our boys in blue dominate. I saw my children experience the thrill of victory and decide where they'd be out there 10 years from now. I hung out with my close-knit, wild, loud, cheerful, loyal and supportive community.
So as long as nobody recorded the goofy dance I did when the Killeen Daily Herald ad flashed on the scoreboard, that night under Friday night lights was a great success.
Now if I could only get the remnants of this blue glitter off …
Managing editor Olga Pena; lives in Copperas Cove with her two children, Daniel and Elizabeth. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7541.