HIGH POINT — Carl Auman builds modified race cars, and that means he doesn’t get many weekends off from the NASCAR season. So he wasn’t going to miss the chance to watch his daughter, Callie, cheer for High Point Christian’s football team Friday night.
“If I had to sit and watch it from up in the trees with binoculars I was going to do it,” the High Point resident said through a mask on a chilly fall evening.
Fortunately for Auman and his wife, Jennifer, the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Monday and allowed the parents of players and cheerleaders for the home team to attend games.
“To miss it was not an option,” Jennifer said.
That was particularly true after she told Callie that her dad would be able to attend the game.
“Jennifer told her last night, ‘Daddy’s going to get to watch you cheer Friday night,’ ” Carl said. “She spun around and looked at me and I could see the glimmer in her eyes, the excitement. There’s no way in the world I could miss that.”
The Cougars’ football team missed two weeks of practice and two games because of positive COVID-19 tests at the school, but they celebrated their return to action Friday night with a 56-7 rout of Matthews Covenant Day before a crowd of nearly 100 at High Point Athletic Complex.
For Phillip and Aldrina Archie, whose son Myles is a sophomore defensive back and receiver, the chance to finally watch him play was “exhilarating,” Aldrina said. That was especially true after the Cougars had to play their opener Sept. 25 without any fans in the stands.
“It was frustrating for our children to be out here and play the game, but for us to not have the opportunity to sit out here and watch them in a socially distanced situation,” she said as she and her husband bundled against the cold on a chilly fall evening. “You have to question it. How safe is it for our kids to be out there if we can’t be in the stands watching it?”
Phillip Archie was “very thankful” to see his son in action.
“I’m happy for him and for all of his teammates after all the hard work they’ve been doing to see it pay off,” he said. “I know they are excited about having a season. That’s the most important thing and to have fun.”
That’s exactly what the Cougars did as they built a 42-7 halftime lead on their way to a 2-0 start to the season. It meant even more to the players to have their parents in the stands.
“The first game against Metrolina Christian with no fans it was so weird,” said senior offensive lineman Phil Couillard. “This game, having some normalcy, it felt great to have my parents and all the other parents cheering us on.”
Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034, and follow @JoeSireraNR on Twitter.
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