Really intense high school football is kind of a red-state thing, so we imagine that a threat to those Friday night lights would get Republicans really hot and bothered. We may soon see whether that’s enough to prod them into doing something about climate change, because if temperatures continue to increase, it could ruin high school football for good. Daily Climate reports:

Scaling back the intensity of a football practice due to hot weather was once laughable in South Georgia, where heat, gnats and hard-hitting high school football are facts of life. But this year Georgia became the latest state to enact new rules to prevent heat-related deaths of high school football players, a category in which the state leads the nation.

Even the warm wash of an inspirational speech from Coach Taylor won’t do much to change a kid’s fate if he’s in the middle of a heat stroke. Just between 2005 and 2009, 17 high school players died from overheating on the football field.

But a little heat and some rather strict rules about healthy practice conditions never stopped anyone with clear eyes, a full heart, and a determination to practice football as much as humanly possible.

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Marietta’s coaches often shift practices to the evening to avoid the intense afternoon heat. Or the players often take the field in helmets and football pants, leaving their shoulder pads on the sideline…

“We were working with stricter guidelines before and we never cancelled a practice,” Hopp said.

If we know the red states, they’ll skip right over the “hmm, maybe climate change threatens things we hold dear, and we need to change our lifestyle” phase and move right to building a giant energy-sucking air-conditioned indoor practice stadium.

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