Sports

Root, root, root for the home team

I enjoy watching football — any kind of football from the NFL, to college, to high school, to the Oak Harbor Youth Football League.

However, I do draw the line at flag football. The kid nearly got himself killed playing flag football in Colorado but that, as they say, is another story.

It’s sort of a “guy thing,” but I’m fortunate to have a lady who likes watching football as well.

When the Oakland Raiders are on television I always know where to find Sherri, the dog and a bowl of cheese curls.

Any time of year, any kind of weather, if you want to see a smile on my face, simply let me stroll the sidelines at a Coupeville or Oak Harbor game or permit me to park my carcass in front of my big screen and watch 22 athletes play knock head on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

As wildly enthusiastic as Oak Harbor football fans are about our Wildcats, we have been given the golden opportunity to enjoy spring football now that the Skagit Valley Lightning semipro team has selected Wildcat Memorial Stadium as its new home field.

The team plays an eight-game regular season schedule beginning in late March, and culminating with the Evergreen Bowl for the league championship in mid-June.

Members of the 12-team Evergreen Football League that includes Bellingham Bulldogs, the Okanogan County Cowboys, the Tri-City Knights, the Yakima Mavericks, the State Line Miners, the Wenatchee Valley Rams, the Columbia Basin Riverhawks, the Spokane SabreCats, the Blue Mountain Stars, the Palouse Thunder and the South Sound Shockers, the Lightning is one of the newer franchises.

The Lightning is in its second season of operation and in the process of building, and now that the team has chosen Oak Harbor as its new home, we as a community can help in the growing and maturing process in a big way.

Four Oak Harbor High School graduates along with six other players who are stationed at NAS Whidbey Island are on the roster and give the Lightning a local flavor that fans can get behind, rather than just bunch of strangers from out of town who decided to make use of the facilities at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Across the nation minor league baseball, even many of the Class A teams such as the Auburn Doubledays from the New York-Penn League and affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays, or the Visalia Oaks, a minor league member of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, have a strong contingent of local fans at all their home games and things can be the same here on Whidbey Island.

Tickets to the Lightning’s games won’t flatten your wallet, season passes are available, and discounts are given to police, fire and military personnel.

Having a semipro team call Oak Harbor home is a real plum for the community and can you imagine what excitement 3,000 screaming fans in the stands cheering on the black and gold would create?

I can and it sounds like a whole bunch of fun to me.

The local boys play their final home game of the regular season at 1 p.m. this afternoon at the stadium.

Come out and cheer the team on to victory.

I’ll see you there.

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