Nothing fills stadiums in America like college football.
Drum heavy bands, painted faces, and cheerleaders with southern accents that repetitively say, “All right!” and “Whoo!” are all over ESPN. The index fingers of over-confident frat boys point right at the cameras as if to say, “I’m going to vigorously shake my finger with my mouth open in order to best communicate the superiority of my team over yours.”
And I soak it up. I soak it all up.
I didn’t got to a big college. Houghton was the antithesis of a big football school. During my tenure, the biggest sports event that ever happened was the homecoming soccer game, and even then you were pretty much guaranteed a seat in the bleachers if you showed up. However, you needed to go at least 45 minutes early to the traditional choral Christmas concert to land a decent seat.
Maybe if Houghton had a local rival school that was also having a choral Christmas concert nearby we could’ve painted our faces and shook our fingers? “Your concert stinks! Ours is more reverant and Christmas-season-specific!”
Listen to what the football announcers say.
Specifically, listen for how they refer to the ball — the football — itself. It’s almost always called the football. Not to be confused with the golf balls or billiard balls rolling around on the field, the announcers use the term football repetitively. In their intense pressured speech they speak of the two football teams, lead by excellent football coaches in storied football stadiums.
I’ve wondered if they’re coached on announcing the game that way. Does it increase ratings? Does it make us, as viewers, connect in some hardcore way to the physicality of game-play? After all, this ain’t no sissy baseball game here! Remind us, again and again, that it’s football time!
I’ve never been to a tail gate party (parking lot + pre-prepared grilled food = fun?), and the last football game I attended was ten years ago in high school when our team lost the homecoming game by 30 points. We left early. Maybe in search of a choral Christmas concert?
I tease about college football, but I really do enjoy it. It’s such a different world from my everyday life. It’s apart of America, an apple pie type of reminder of how we’re not all that different from the ancient Romans and their coliseum.