The 7-on-7 state tournament is not in College Station. This year's event has not benefitted from the resources Texas A&M has provided the past 15 years. The championship game will not be played at Kyle Field.
You know what?
I don’t think any of the 7-on-7 competitors care now.
Many were probably a little apprehensive on the drive to Austin, but one trip into the magic tent supplied by new sponsor Adidas and I guarantee their feelings were forever altered.
Swag can change a teenager’s opinion in a hurry — especially when it is free.
Each 7-on-7 player received new Adidas shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, gloves, wrist bands, head bands, towels — you get the point.
Gone were the half ripped t-shirts with illegible numbers that players have donned in the past. This was a showcase of Adidas sportswear and apparel.
“I like it a lot,” said Canton quarterback Chandler Eiland, who played for the Eagles last year in College Station. “I know it was good there, but I like all the stuff, all the great gear we are getting. I am thankful that we got it and I am glad to be here.”
Chapel Hill quarterback Andrew Black, who is participating in his first state tournament, also is a fan.
“It’s awesome; we are getting all this awesome stuff and just getting it for free and being able to come down here is just a great experience,” Black said. “I love Adidas that much more.”
Another noticeable and welcome addition is the scoreboards. Each field at this year’s tournament has a scoreboard with both teams displayed. I no longer have to politely answer multiple parents’ repeated questions of “What is the score?” since they knew I was keeping it in my notebook.
And it needs that scoreboard because a fan entering the park will have no idea where his or her team is playing without it.
Even with a map showing you the field you need to go to, it is difficult because Adidas only made two uniform colors and every player on all of those fields is wearing either black or white.
My first time at the state tournament was in 2000 and you could always locate the Lufkins, Brownwoods and Robert E. Lees by just looking for purple, maroon or red shirts.
I felt so bad for an older gentleman who said he had gone to every field — and they are very spread out over miles in groups of three and four — and still had not located the team he was looking for. The tournament rep next to me in his golf cart pulled out a map and showed the gentleman that, in fact, he had just left the field he needed to be it.
“Can I give you ride back to that field?” the rep said.
“No. I am sorry. My wife and I are going back to the car.”
It took me a while to figure it out as well, but once you find the right field, set up your chair, lather up in sunscreen and grab the first of many water bottles, it is almost like being back at Penberthy Fields in College Station.