During the 1980s and early 1990s, a television show on NBC called “Cheers” dominated the ratings.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, a television show on NBC called “Cheers” dominated the ratings. The comedy featured an odd cast of characters who came together in a Boston bar “where everybody knows your name.”

There are not too many places “where everybody knows your name,” as the theme song from the television show told us. But when you find that place, it is to be cherished, and celebrated. It feels like home.

There’s a place like that in Havelock. It’s not a bar, but it’s perhaps the biggest example of community in this city. It’s a Friday night football game at Havelock High School.

There are probably many in Havelock who don’t see it. After all, thanks to Cherry Point, we have many who don’t think of Havelock as home but as a temporary location until the next duty station.

But attend a football game at Havelock High, and this city will grow on you.

There is a shared camaraderie in the stands at Havelock High. After all, everyone is generally rooting for the Rams to win a game. Strike up a conversation about a play on the field with the person sitting next to you, and shortly you will learn about that person’s life, about the kids they have on the team, or maybe in the band, or maybe on the cheerleading squad.

It’s a friendly atmosphere — well, until the perceived bad call by the referees anyway. Of course then you can always talk to your new neighbor about that “bad call.”

Like that cast of characters in “Cheers,” the Havelock stands have them, too — mothers who cringe every time their sons get tackled, fathers who analyze every play as if they are an ESPN analyst, students who enjoy chanting and dancing in the stands, wide-eyed children dreaming of when they are old enough to be on the field, to play that instrument or to be in that cheerleading uniform.

Friday night football games at Havelock High are the definition of community. Volunteers help at the ticket gate. They work in the concession stand. They operate the scoreboard and announce the game.

They operate the inflatable tunnel from which the team enters the field through the smoky haze and to the thumping sounds of loud music. The band then kicks in with the fight song, and people in the stands come to their feet to welcome the Rams as they break through a banner held by cheerleaders.

Attending a game isn’t just about watching football. It’s much more than that. The purchase of that $7 ticket helps support not only the athletes playing football, but also those in all other sports at Havelock High School.

Buying that soda or popcorn at the concession stand helps the Havelock High Rams Booster Club, which raises money to help pay for equipment and other athletic needs.

Be sure to spend a couple of bucks on a program. You’ll get to learn the names of the Havelock players, and you’ll also support the cheerleaders, who travel to competitions during the year. Be sure to look at all the advertisers in the program and pay them a visit. The money they spent on that ad goes to support the Havelock High band program.

Friday night football at Havelock High is entertainment. It offers a chance to get out of the house, share the company of others, watch a football game, enjoy the music of the band and feel good about the community in which you live.

The next opportunity to enjoy a game is at 7 p.m. Friday against New Bern. This is one of Havelock’s biggest rivals, so if you’ve never been to a game, get there early, as it will likely be pretty crowded. Plus, getting there early provides a chance to enjoy some pre-game festivities.

Once you start attending games, you’re likely going to find it hard to stop attending. Stay long enough, and pretty soon Friday night football games at Havelock High will become a place “where everybody knows your name.”

Cheers.

Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 635-5673 or at ken.buday@havenews.com.