Monsoor Stadium a community victory

BIG CROWD, big hearts at the dedication of Monsoor Stadium Friday at GGHS (Orange County Tribune photo).

Sportsmanship doesn’t begin or end with players or coaches. There are fans, parents and those behind the scenes who affect whether the athletic experience is uplifting and entertaining, or depressing and disappointing.

The dedication of Michael Monsoor Stadium at Garden Grove High School last Friday before the Argonauts’ game against Woodbridge was just about a perfect event. Everything went off like clockwork – important on a warm day – and just the right tone of celebration and commemoration was struck.

A couple of things caught my eye and heart. First, the event was a pleasant throwback to another era, when local high school football games were played to packed stands – on the home side, at least – and the bleachers were filled not just with kids, but their parents, grandparents, alumni and others. It was the kind of sense of belonging that existed before iPhones, social media and the like dimmed Friday nights lights for all but the most powerful – and dare I say, semi-professional – prep football programs.

As impressive to me was the fine-tuning that makes Monsoor Stadium into a truly community house. The original plan was to festoon the place with reminders of just which high school it was located at. The scoreboard was going to be decorated with a big Argonaut crest and the words “Garden Grove High School.”

But the new $1.8 million sports palace – and it is very nice – is the football home field not only to GGHS, but also Santiago and Los Amigos high schools. So when dedication time came around, I was pleased to see the place scrubbed of any reference to a particular school.

When the Navy SEAL emblem in the center of the gridiron was uncovered, the task was done by athletes from each of the three schools who will regularly play their home football – and perhaps some soccer, too – at Monsoor. Nicely done.

The Grove football team didn’t do so well in that first game, losing 28-7 to Woodbridge. However, the ceremony that preceded it was an over-the-top success, that kind whose influence lingers long after the final gun.

High Five: Who’s up, who’s down

The Tribune’s High Five for Week 3 of the local high school football teams shows some movement and some stability. Again on top is Edison (2-1), which rolled over Canyon 38-0 last week. Again in second is Pacifica (3-0), which has won three walkovers.

Westminster (2-0) won a surprisingly big victory over Marina (now 2-1) and moves into third place. Ocean View (2-0) stays in fourth and Orange (2-0) moves into fifth.

On the bubble are La Quinta (2-0) and Marina.

While we are on the subject of who’s doing well (or not) in prep football in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area, the best-looking matchups this coming weekend look to be San Juan Hills (2-1) at Edison and Pacifica (3-0) at Garden Grove (1-2).

Rams fans on the lam? Noooo ….

A lot of laughter issued from the interwebs on Sunday over the turnout at the Rams’ game against the Indianapolis Colts. Photos of the stands at the Coliseum showed great expanses of empty seats, and much was made of the idea that after one season, L.A.-area fans had already tired of the Rams.

Hey, not so fast. First off, local fans have a habit of arriving late and leaving early. The freeways, you know. Secondly, the Rams had to compete over the weekend with UCLA and USC football teams playing at home, and the Dodgers frolicking (unsuccessfully) at Chavez Ravine.

On top of that, the Colts came into the game without QB Andrew Luck, which means – pardon the awful pun ­– they were out of luck. That made the game, already challenged by hot temperatures, less than attractive.

Still, over 60,000 fans bought tickets. That’s not bad, but it’s bound to look thin in a stadium that seats over 90,000. So here’s the takeaway. It’s way too early to decide that L.A. fans have already decided that NFL football is a treat they can live without.

Monday Morning Coach is written by Pete Zarustica, even when it actually ends up being posted on Monday Afternoon.







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