After Hours Commitments for Friday Night Lights: It Takes a Village

The Hours and Commitment that Went into the Sterling Heights Stevenson Homecoming Game Would Shock Most Attendees

Any book, movie, television show or local newspaper article reflecting on Friday night high school football games is understandably focused on the game itself, from the play on the field to the coach's post-game perspective. But most attendees would be downright shocked to hear how many coordinated pieces, practice time and extra work hours and commitment go into putting on a Friday (or Saturday) night football game beyond the football team's performance. It's something that happens every week at schools across the country, but an evaluation of the work that went into the recent Sterling Heights Stevenson homecoming game vs. Macomb Dakota is a good example as Cheerleader, Dance, Student Council and Band coaches/supervisors dedicated hundreds of unpaid hours to make the experience special.

So what does all the extracurricular hours and activity actually add to a game? No one who contributes to the weekly Friday night lights events at Stevenson has more of an understanding of what the games mean for the community than Stevenson Band Director, Mike Sekich. Sekich is a 1984 graduate of Stevenson High and a life-long Sterling Heights resident. This year he started his 28th year as Stevenson's Director of Bands, which also includes the school's Jazz band. "We really serve as a means to connect the school to the games. Our football team, dance squad and cheerleaders are all on the same page and we work together," said Sekich. "And really, who wants to hear canned music at a football game?"

Sekich's commitment is no small undertaking and goes well above and beyond his daily full-time job as Stevenson Director of Bands. He leads 90-minute rehearsals after school, not including a week-long band camp in the summer, competitions and other camps. "We had two games this year before school even started," said Sekich. Dealing with everything from bee stings to 107 degree on- field heat that greeted at least one of the games, Sekich also keeps busy managing alone his 160 band members. "Listen, neither I or the kids do this for self-gratification or honors. We do this for the school."

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