Football: The Lovable Aspects of an Unlovable Sport
You know that breakaway banner the cheerleaders make for the football game? You know how the football team aggressively rips through it as they charge the field? Well, that breakaway banner is my social life, and those big ol’ boys are about to tear it in two.
Football is a dirty home-wrecker. All the good babysitters are on sabbatical from their childcare pursuits. They are supporting our state champion football team. They are cheering or marching in the band, will be for four months, so going out any Friday night between now and 2014 is out of the question.
Saturdays aren’t much better, and you know why. “The game” is on, that’s why. Todd has to watch the Georgia games. All of them. In real time. And the pre-game show. And the post-game show. Oh, and he has to watch all the other SEC games so that he can make a hypothesis about how the rankings will change. I may be the master of my husband’s Saturdays for the first 8 months of the year, but come Labor Day, the SEC pries open my bossy little hand and takes my whip.
Oh, your leg was gnawed off by zombies? Not a good time, Ging. Make yourself a tourniquet and I will take a look at it at half time. And stop crying, I can’t hear the game.
I don’t dislike football, I simply don’t understand it. Football wasn’t something my family watched or cared about growing up, and try as I might, I cannot learn its rules. My brain is too hardwired as an adult, and I have resigned myself to this fact. I am never going to be fluent in a Spanish, I am never going to play the banjo, and I am never going to understand this sport.
I know you love football. I love you, and I am happy for you. Please don’t write me off just yet. I may not be a sports fan, but I am an optimist, and there are lots of things I love about football:
I enjoy drinking beer and eating chicken wings with a large group of loud, happy people, and any occasion will do. Please invite me. I will stay behind and clean up while everyone else goes to the stadium, and I wont mind a bit.
We are often invited to the homes of friends to watch the game, and I love this. More beer. More chicken wings. There is generally at least one other person at the party who would rather sit on the porch and chew the fat than watch the game, and I will find her and make fast friends.
I may not have played football or been a cheerleader, but I have been on teams before. Girl’s trio at literary meet, for example. One act play competition. They were nerdy teams, but they were teams. I understand what it means to get together with people you care about and work hard toward a common goal, a goal that is bigger than what you could accomplish as an individual. I love how many kids here in Calhoun play ball, march in the band, cheer or are majorettes, because they are learning principals about teamwork that will impact how they function as family members, employees, and citizens later in life.
This Friday, everyone in town will be decked out in their Calhoun Yellow Jacket apparel. Black and gold as far as the eye can see. Little boys will show up to school in jerseys and temporary tattoos of eye black. Little girls will wear cheer-leading uniforms. Proud parents and grandparents will wear photo buttons of their children in their uniforms. Local businesses will put up signs. Go Jackets! It is folksy, and I love it. Calhoun is not my hometown, but it is the hometown I have chosen for my children, and maybe that is just as special (but in a different way).
People are excited this time of year. They are enthusiastic, and I think it makes them friendlier. More likely to talk to strangers. They size one another up in waiting rooms and elevators, then talk happily about the team they both love or, even better, find that they are rivals and indulge in some good-natured ribbing. Oh, that we were willing to look for common ground more often. I will take football. It’s a start.
Go Jackets! I guess. Go Dawgs! I will make it to between 0 and 1 games this year, but I will be able to hear the home games from my house. On those evenings, when night falls and the temperature drops, I will walk outside, sit down on the porch glider, and listen to the announcer. To the band. I will know that you are there in the stands, I will know how happy you feel, and I will be happy for you. Let’s get this season started. And swiftly over.