I’ve been going to as many of the local high school football games as I can this year, and a lot of people seem to wonder why in the world I do that when they hear about it. When I tell them I was at the game, they stare at me like I’ve grown some sort of second head. Do I know anyone playing? As if that would explain it–I’m going because I have to go, out of some sick sense of duty and obligation. Kind of like how the samurai in a Kurosawa film are compelled to follow their idiot leaders, even when it’s clear those leaders are complete despots. (I know a few of the players, and but that’s not really the reason I go.) Or maybe I played football myself in high school, and I’m going to relive the glory days, like an Uncle Rico who just can’t turn away. (I played at football games, not in them: tenor and bari sax in the marching band, thank you very much. (And our high school has no marching bad, alas. Though I do wonder if I could convince them to at least have a pep band of some sort . . . ))
So why do I go? For a bunch of reasons.
- Fall means football. Something about the smell of rotting leaves and the chill in the air demand that football be consumed, in person if at all possible.
- I love watching football. It’s a sport I really enjoy–seeing the strategy play out on the field. I’m a big fan of games, though typically just of the board game persuasion. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy seeing strategy at work in other situations. I can’t play football very well, but I can second guess coaching decisions with the best of them.
- High school football is college football in embryo. College football is my favorite. I’m not a huge fan of the NFL. It’s all too slick and polished. I like my football messy. At the college level, you’ve got a nice balance between players who know what they’re doing (more or less) but aren’t yet all superstars. High school is to college as college is to the NFL. It’s a bit messier than I’d typically like, but beggars can’t be choosers. (And I’ve seen some kicking games that are better than BYU’s this year–not that that would be really hard.)
- Football is a social thing for me, too–I like being able to sit and watch games with friends. If the games are close, so much the better. But if they’re blow outs, it’s still fun to me to be able to sit and talk. I’m a talker–what can I say?
- Football means food–Not the best for my diet, but such is life. I also don’t get to eat food at every football game I go to, but that’s okay, too. A good tail gating party is just a lot of fun.
- It’s very different from my normal routine. No books, no writing, no researching–not even movies. And it gets me out of the house, if I’m actually going to a game. Believe it or not, I like being outdoors.