Finally. College football is here.
We’ve waited months for this. We have anxiously been passing the time with catching an ESPN rerun of a game from 2010 and reading articles about spring practice, depth charts, and way too early polls. But alas, football hath arriveth!
‘Twas the night before kickoff…
All day, I went over a list of tasks in my mind that need to be completed tomorrow before I can sit in front of ESPN uninterrupted. As I read and re-read the games slated for Saturday, I started wondering exactly what it was that I was so eager about. I wasn’t going to a game nor was there any kick off party I was to attend. Hell, MY team wasn’t even scheduled for another week. However, every time I thought about watching a live college football game, the hair on my arms stood up and my heart began to pound.
Why We Love The Gridiron
Obviously, we know that football is an American sport, but what it truly emcompasses is the foundation of the American dream: hard work, teamwork, sacrifice, perseverance, respect, pride, glory. ‘Merica.
It is true that the NFL may have more viewers, but college football engulfs more passion, more heart, more pride. Fans use possessive pronouns when referring to the specific team they affiliate themselves with, such as “my team” and “our school”. The pride of a true college football fan is second to none. We believe in our team; we support our team through the 11-1 seasons as well as the 1-11 seasons. Nothing can shake our faith.
We Go To Church on Saturday and Sunday
Being raised in the south, it’s always been a joke that football is a religion. However, it is no laughing matter. We do take our football seriously. The gameday traditions are rich, from preparing on Friday to recovering on Sunday. We buy clothes, decals, and home decor to bear our school pride. The team colors are our favorite colors, and we wouldn’t be caught dead in rival team colors even on the off season. And we can expound the exact shade of team colors better than the paint on the walls of our own homes. We know the team roster better than our extended family. We can describe the uniform details better than our Sunday best. The school mascot becomes our personal spirit animal. The team schedule is our seasonal calendar, and we plan for games as well as around games.
Tailgating is a well-planned event, from mega grills and cold beer to team logo tents and corn hole. We wait in line at the players’ entrance to get a glimpse of the coaches and teammates that we have practically worshipped into celebrities. We go through the pregame events like religious rituals. We know every player’s name, every note the band plays, every word to the fight song, every cheer and chant, and every voice heard over the PA system. We sit on bleachers or plastic seats in the unbearable heat or sub-zero temperatures, next to strangers who become our best friends for the subsequent hours of the game, as we all slowly lose our hearing from the deafening decibels of the stadium crowd.
We Win as a Team, We Lose as a Team
We gloat for the following 365 days when we win rivalry games, and we lick our wounds and say “there’s always next year” when we come up short. We turn into “couch coaches” as we yell play calls at the TV screen. We are Heisman voters as the season progresses, because we really do know who deserves it more. We know who’s injured, who’s redshirted, who’s playing their senior season, and who has committed to play for the team. We become bandwagon fans when our players are drafted to the pros.
When they take the field, we take the field. We relish in their victories. We feel the pain of the losses. Their rivals are our rivals. It’s our state against your team. Our city against your city. We are part of the team. There are two times of the year for people like us, football season and waiting for football season. See you Saturday. Game on!