Friday, August 31, 2012

Allen, Texas opens its $60 million high school football stadium tonight - Dallas Morning News (blog)

Arlington Martin players on the visitor sideline during HS Football scrimage action at the new Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas on Friday, August 24, 2012. (Brad Loper/The Dallas Morning News)

When I arrived in Texas 10 years ago, I was probably told a dozen times by helpful strangers that “Football is religion in Texas.”

While it’s true that football is football and religion is religion, it’s also true that players and fans in this state do worship the game, from the time their sons start in youth football and working their way up from there. By the time many players reach their senior year, they have already been playing together for 12.

That level of dedication to youth sports is what frames tonight’s opening of the new $59.6 million Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas. As our sportswriter Matt Wixon reports, it has “18,000 seats, two scoreboards, a 38-foot wide high-definition video screen, 42 lines for concessions and the refined look of a college stadium.” The comparison to a college stadium isn’t a stretch. Many writers are pointing out that it’s bigger and better than what many small colleges have.

Wixon’s fellow sportswriter Corbett Smith showed that the stadium was just one piece of a $119 million bond package â€" which included the stadium, a performing arts center and a district service center â€" which the city’s roughly 88,000 residents passed in May 2009 with 63 percent approval, fresh on the heels of a $219 million bond for new school construction six months earlier.

If football is religion in Texas, this one community won’t have to pray for much other than victory.

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