So, this’ll probably end up being another personal post. Don’t worry, it’s nothing too serious.
Ever since graduating high school in 2012, I’ve been following how my high school football team has been doing by watching The Best Local Sports Show, the highlight package that’s put together by the ABC affaliate of California’s Coachella Valley, KESQ. It’s fun to do to see what the dynamics are because I feel high school football can be almost like college football in some ways. However, at some point in the five years I was gone, something happened:
La Quinta High School, my alma mater, upped its student section game significantly. Let me tell you about The Birdcage.
It started at least with my freshman year in 2008. I was on the freshman football team and I’d always stick around for the varsity game in that prime Friday night slot that so many kids look forward to playing in. And while I was sitting with my mom, there were these kids cheering all game long and standing the entire game like college basketball student sections. And after a few weeks, I joined them. And then I joined them the next week. And the next. And the next…all through the football season of my junior year. I saw them go from just a small group of some of my friends to a large group of my friends that had some pretty good seats on the bleachers overlooking the 35-yard line next to the band (a migration from one side of the 50-yard line to the other). And they were still there my senior year when I was on the varsity team. I also saw them go from wearing white during the whiteout game against our rivals Palm Desert to some wearing white every week even if it was only one guy wearing a white headband. The Birdcage helped create some of the most fun I’ve had in high school.
And then I graduated, and now The Birdcage has its own Twitter and its own Instagram. It’s even its own club with officers and rules! Granted, I remember hearing announcements about The Birdcage meeting during lunch, but I didn’t think anything of it.
In fact, here’s a photo from this year’s home opener they had this year I found on Twitter:
They have a sign. They have a flag. To think that this is where they are and how far they came after I first saw this group of people standing by me and cheering nonstop when I finished my freshman game in my mesh jersey and was sitting while watching varsity is mind-blowing.
I’m Martin White, a scout squad defensive tackle from La Quinta High School’s 2012 team. I don’t remember my stat line exactly, but I recall being named captain against Indio, getting a sack against Cathedral City, and raising my helmet into the air before every kickoff, regardless of who was kicking.
And I’m saying this: you’re doing great things, Birdcage. keep it up.