Editorial: Annual high school jamboree a fun, important event deserving of support

Jul. 10, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

One doesn't have to be reminded that the new football season is fast approaching. East Tennessee people know that. But while much of the focus may be on the college and pro seasons, in fact many pay close attention to the high school version of the sport as well.

Hang on until next month, when things heat up, both literally and figuratively. The dedication of the high school football player is remarkable, considering that they must practice day after day in some of the hottest weather of the year. The rewards begin when the fifth annual Smoky Mountain Kick-Off Jamboree is held starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Sevier County High School. Holding it at night will spare many the effects of a summer day in East Tennessee.

This has become, in five short years, one of the most entertaining and important days for many participants. It gives the players a chance to scrimmage against real competition instead of teammates. It allows coaches to evaluate talent in game situations. It brings together all  the county's public schools in one place.

Perhaps most significant of all, the event raises money to help pay for the rising cost of catastrophic heath insurance coverage for the athletes. Participating teams will include Sevier County, Seymour, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg-Pittman and — new this year — Northview Academy, which will field a freshmen team.

The jamboree gives area high school football fans an opportunity to watch the county’s teams in action as they prepare for the season. Cheerleaders will perform and sell souvenir programs featuring all teams. Prior to kick-off, the high school bands will jointly perform “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Admission is $5 with no admission charge for preschoolers. Advanced tickets are available at all five high schools. Whether you are a fan of a particular team or just enjoy high school athletics, SCHS will be the place to be that evening. The parking lot will be jammed.

This kind of activity takes a lot of volunteers and a lot of planning. Thanks to all who make it possible. And don't forget the middle school jamboree set for Aug. 13 at Pigeon Forge High. Those kids are the future high schoolers. They deserve your support as well.