By Ray Hamill — The long goodbye has reached the final countdown.
On Saturday, Humboldt State football fans will have one last opportunity to see their team play at home, before the plug is officially pulled on the program in 10 days, bringing an end to one of the North Coast’s most cherished sporting traditions.
That’s one more chance to see our beloved Lumberjacks in action within the confines of one of the most beautiful and intimate stadiums in all of Division-II football, and against one of the most picturesque backdrops anywhere in sports.
One more opportunity to relish this special atmosphere, to bask in the glow of the Redwood Bowl, to witness the 90 or so players run onto the field with endless enthusiasm and the unwavering belief that today will be their day.
One more chance to soak it all up.
The Real Cost of Cutting HSU Football is a season-long series published on HumboldtSports.com, with different stories throughout the fall, each breaking down a different aspect of the decision, why it was made, and what it really means to HSU and the surrounding community.
For Jacks fans, attending a game was always as much about the occasion as it ever was about wins and losses.
This was our occasion.
This was our team, a team that meant more to the local community than the current administration could ever understand.
And by the time the sun has set on the Redwood Bowl this Saturday evening, it will have taken with it the final embers of a treasured sporting tradition that once blazed with passion and life — forever.
The sad part is it really never should have come to this.
In truth, this was a decision based neither on dollars nor sense, no matter what the school administration says.
And it’s a decision that will have long-term adverse effects, not just on the athletic department but on the entire school and community, no matter what the administration may say differently.
But that’s not even the worst of it.
The worst part is that the local sports community is losing a part of its soul, its identity, a team that represented this community for generations.
A sporting icon on the North Coast, as well as a face for the school well beyond the Redwood curtain
You can talk all you want about all the problems dropping football presents — enrollment issues, diminishing diversity on campus, exacerbating budgetary problems, Title IX issues and the need to now eliminate women’s teams/athletes, the effects on the local economy, and even diminishing the importance of homecoming — but what you can’t quantify is how this all affects the local sports community psyche.
And how that will affect future generations of sports fans and football players in this small community.
The tradition cannot be understated.
That’s what we’re losing.
That’s what the current school administration is taking away from us.
If football is not a part of Humboldt State, then Humboldt State becomes less a part of the community.
No more Saturday nights in the fall at the Redwood Bowl, which is now destined to offer up memories of what once was and what should never have been taken away.
The end is here.
It’s time to say farewell.
Time for one more trip to the Redwood Bowl to watch the Lumberjacks play one last time.
The final countdown in the long goodbye.