As pregame ceremonies go, Westlake High came up with something pretty special before Friday's football game with Hart.
On the sidelines before the game -- and on the field in his army
uniform as one of Westlake's team captains for the coin toss -- was
86-year-old World War II veteran Ed (Doc) Pepping of Whittier, who
served as a medic in the Army paratrooper unit immortalized in the book
and HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers."
The Westlake football team has been using "Band of Brothers" as a
theme for a couple years now -- coach Jim Benkert picked up the idea
from BYU at a coaches' clinic in Utah.
"We were looking to take it to another level this year," he said.
"So we started looking for a member of the Band of Brothers in this
They found Pepping, who came to the school earlier this year and
spoke at a ceremony in which members of the football team received
military-style dog tags to signify being part of the Band of Brothers.
Highlights of his comments -- along from those of players, who were
asked to explain in a sentence what the theme "Band of Brothers" meant
to them, were part of a short video played on Westlake's new color
video board before the game.
Pepping then went arm in arm with three Westlake players for the
mid-field coin toss -- hugging each of the Hart captains while there --
and received a warm ovation from fans of both teams before leaving the
"Band of Brothers" veteran Ed Pepping takes the field with Westlake's captains ...
... and is shown during a pregame feature on Westlake's new video board.The scoreboard:
speaking, it's not a new Westlake scoreboard -- the video component has
just been added on top of the old scoreboard, replacing a message board
segment. It makes for a pretty massive piece of equipment -- I
suggested to Benkert that it might be a hazard to low-flying planes --
but it's pretty impressive, too, to be able to watch highlights of a
previous game in color on the scoreboard, as well as various graphics
encouraging chants of "Defense" and the like.
Instant replay is certainly a possibility (to the best of my
knowledge, there weren't any replays on Friday) -- but, unfortunately,
so is video advertising. I suppose every technological advance has its