Top o’ the mornin’, yis like some rashers before yee play yer lil high school football game on ur grand emerald isle?

The Illinois High School Association’s main rule when it comes to teams traveling for competition is the players involved miss no more than one day of school. Well, grab yer bagpipes laddy, we’re off to see the Cliffs of Moher — and when I say bagpipes, I mean your shoulder pads and your helmet.

Loyola Academy recently announced that during the 2012 football season the Ramblers will ramble over to Ireland to take on a team from Dallas, Texas, of all places. That’s quite a jaunt, approximately eight hours one-way, and the IHSA’s rule of not missing more than a day of school includes travel to and from the contest. But the game, which corresponds with a Navy-Notre Dame game as well, will take place over Labor Day weekend. And because Loyola is a private school, its administrators were able to give every student Friday off as well. The IHSA approved the overseas showdown, which will be considered the team’s second game of the season.

The OPRF baseball team went to Ft. Lauderdale for a tournament over spring break. So what does the future hold for OPRF football? A trip to Whales? Zimbabwe? Jamaica, mon? Iceland? Belgium? Costa Rica? Barbados?

“Although I would like to go to Barbados (and not necessarily for football), I don’t really foresee our football team traveling overseas for a game,” wrote John Stelzer, OPRF’s athletic director, in response to an email I sent him inquiring whether or not such a trip similar to Loyola’s could possibly be in the cards for the Huskies some day. “Due to our conference schedule we only have one non-conference game per season, which occurs Week No. 1. I suppose we could use that opportunity to play a school in a neighboring state (Mo., Ind., Iowa, Wis., etc.) that is only a bus ride away, but really we are very fortunate to have so many quality teams in the Chicagoland area that it isn’t necessary, at least at this point in time.

“We really haven’t discussed the possibility of football traveling at this point. It is a very different beast, traveling with 70 football players and equipment versus 20 baseball players. Anyway, never say never, but I don’t see this in the near future.”

Stelzer’s right. The competition in and around Chicago is steep. There’s no need to fly over the Atlantic Ocean to play a team from Texas — there’s no reason to fly anywhere at all unless it’s to have nice weather during the start of your season (baseball). Coaches, parents and administrators can tout the experience the players are likely to gain from playing overseas all they like, but if that’s what they’re looking for then I suggest they take an extended family vacation during the summer.

After all, this is high school. You know, the place with the big yellow buses.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...