The state of Alabama is home to more than 450 high schools. Of those schools, 386 feature varsity football teams. Steve Martin has seen them all, plus nearly 75 more to boot, and it only took him 52 years to do it.
As reported by the Alabama High School Athletic Association at Alabama.com, Martin completed a near life-long quest to personally witness every high school football team from Alabama in person.
The final contest on his list came on Friday when he saw Central High (Clay County, Ala.) face off against Childersburg High (Childersburg, Ala.). The former newspaper reporter began tracking the schools he had witnessed in person long after he covered his first game for the Gadsden Times in 1961. Eventually Martin had checked so many schools off his list that he took on the challenge of witnessing every other school in the state during his life.
The quest took more than 500 games and side trips to all of Alabama's 67 counties. As of Friday, it's now finally over, even with the self-imposed restrictions that Martin placed on the schools on his list.
"I had to see each game in its entirety," he said. "If I didn’t get to a game before it started, or if I left before it ended, I couldn't count it.""I didn’t imagine anything like this at first."
Now every school in the state is on his list, with a check mark right next to it.