I have never been a football fan, even though I have lived in Texas aka the”football is life” state all my life. The game always seemed too complex and confusing for me to bother trying to understand. As a result of my early discovered dislike for football, my dad and I took great entertainment in making a laughing stalk of fanatic fans. If we came across a game as we flipped through channels on the living room television our first intuition was to look at the score then wait for a panorama of the crowd to come across the screen. We didn’t understand the frenzy, therefore we laughed at the face-painted screaming savages like outsiders.
So as you can guess, when Stratford High made it to the UIL 4A semi-state finals last week, I didn’t know what to think. I was a fake, I hadn’t been to more than ten or fifteen games over my entire high school career. Yet here I was, taking photos on the sideline and acting like I knew what it meant to make it to the semi-finals for the first time since 1987–who was I to deserve a press pass or claim understanding to a mere fact I found on file?
Part of me joined the football frenzy because I was afraid of missing out; fomo is a real thing, especially when you are half way though your last year of high school. But another part of me just wanted to make up for lost times and be a part of something that I never even gave a chance.
So I wore as much green as I could find on game day and I even showed enthusiasm at the pep-rally which I shamefully attended for the first time all year. I looked at statistics on the team we were playing then compared them to our own to make education predictions. I felt like I was joining the bandwagon and I LOVED it.
The games were even more exciting than the preparation I’d done. On the sidelines and occasionally in the stands I cheered with friends I made three years ago but felt like I’d known my whole life. I booed when the refs mad bad calls and then discreetly googled them to make sure I understood why everyone was angry. Above all, I watched my fellow classmates do more than play football, I watched them leave everything they had on a turf field and cry when it wasn’t enough.
Now that the season is over, I can’t help but be mad that I didn’t become a football fan sooner. The loud screaming, oversized signs and painted faces that I once laughed at now resonated as passionate acts rather than those of stupidity.
I know our team is still upset about their loss at the semi-finals, but I am here to say that the team accomplished a lot more than a good season. The football team taught people who never felt like they belonged at a football game, people like me, how to be a fan and include yourself even if you aren’t an expert on the subject at matter. They showed me how bleachers of students can resemble enlarged family reunions and helped me understand what it means to devote yourself to something entirely.
I doubt I will ever actually understand what a pass interference is…aren’t you supposed to interfere when the other team has the ball? If you intercept is that an interference? I obviously have some learning to do. But with my cluelessness on rules and regulations aside, I will continue to watch football. I will buy a season pass to the Syracuse football games next year and stay posted on Stratford’s team. I will celebrate when we win by participating in all the festivities, and I’ll feel perfectly comfortable crying if we happen to lose.♦