Gridiron Madness

January 29, 2015

Bouncy castles, face painting booths, and dunk tanks are what you would expect to see at a carnival. But they can also be found at Krum (Texas) High School the night before the first official football practice of the season. Since 2009, the school has been hosting "Midnight Madness," which includes a community party followed by the Bobcats's practice when the clock strikes 12.

The pre-practice festivities begin at 9 p.m., with tailgating in the parking lot, carnival games and rides in the stadium's concourse, and youth flag football and punt-pass-kick contests on the field. The rides are donated in exchange for advertisements in the football game program, and booster club volunteers keep everything running smoothly.

A key aspect of the event's success, which draws between 1,000 and 1,500 people each year, is involving as many Bobcat athletes as possible. "Even though the evening is football-centric, we realized that the best way to get the community to come out in force is to include other Krum sports teams," says Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Gary Robinson. "So during the event, we introduce each of our fall athletic teams over the loudspeaker and have them run out onto the field. It makes those players feel more involved and encourages their parents and fans to attend Midnight Madness."

At 11 p.m., Robinson takes his team into the locker room to start preparing them for practice. Shortly before midnight, the squad is introduced and takes the field by running through a line of fans. A spirited practice begins not long after.

"My players know the Midnight Madness session is a time for them to work hard," Robinson says. "But for the fans, it's a chance to kick back and have fun. The event has really grown into something special."
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