T.G.I.F.- Total Gridiron Insanity = Football!

It's 10-year old, huddled under thick wool blankets, clutching Styrofoam cups of hot chocolate, marshmallows partially melted, a little bit of ketchup from a just-finished hot dog still on the side of their mouths, content to be exactly where he or she is- freezing and shivering in the frosty night air.

It's grandpa, son and grandson, chatting contentedly about catches, and not referring to their significant others or fish.

It's heads, covered in sweat and steaming in near-freezing temperatures, their owners breathing hard and just waiting, like predators, to get back in the game.

This is Friday Night Football.

It's not an event, it's an experience. It is something to be enjoyed with all the five senses- feeling the cold October air on your face, smelling the mixture of mud and grass, tasting the tangy barbecue sauce, seeing the mass of purple or gold or red or blue, hearing the sound of helmet hitting helmet.

And I get to be there, on the sidelines, up close and personal with the teams, hearing the players encourage each other, listening to the coaches swear under their breath (or sometimes not so under their breath).

I get to capture it on film, catching moments of greatness, surprise, defeat, victory, heartbreak, and exhileration. And that's just in the first quarter.

There is nothing like going to a town of 4-5,ooo people, 98 percent of which are at the game (while the other 2% man the gas stations and lone McDonald's in town), bedecked in their teams colors, ready to cheer at every pass, run, kick, punt and tackle.

As I stand there on the sidelines, there are so many moments of fleeting exhilaration, from knowing I just caught a pass perfectly on camera, to the excitement of seeing a player rushing right towards the spot on the sidelines currently occupied by myself, hoping he comes close enough for a great highlight but stops short of running right into my legs. And even as he draws closer, my concern is not for my fragile bones, but for the camera on my shoulder that's worth more than my car (I know, doesn't sound like much, but a few thousand-dollar camera isn't easy to replace).

I love the feeling knowing I just caught a touchdown run/pass perfectly, and even love/hate the feeling knowing the offense just duped the defense (and me), making me lose track of who has the ball.

I love watching the scrub teams as much as the champion teams- hoping each play that the former might finally score a touchdown before halftime, enjoying the latter's perfect play execution every single time.

It's unfair, in a way, that the people who have cheered for the team so long don't get to be as close to the action as I do- I, who will likely never be back to that town for the rest of the season, get a front row seat to the battle between their sons and brothers and nephews and grandsons.

Some guys have all the luck. I like to think I'm one of those guys, at least for 10 weeks every autumn.


Tamara said…
I'm glad you get excited, I'm glad you get to feed that passion you have for watching sports....on the other hand, I hate it that we have to spend the evening apart...Friday nights should be for US time. uugggghhhhhhhh....
Peeser said…
I love the way you have with words- such a delightful description of what you experienced. I'm so sorry I let you down by missing your highlights- Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words, and I failed to see what amazing pictures/moments you caught on camera. I am sorry, and I hope you don't hate me... :(
I'm glad you got to enjoy the experience nonetheless!
emily said…
i know i told you this in person, but I LOVED it... Made me ALMOST love football as much as you. ALMOST. Keep writing, kid!
Thanks for the insights. What an opportunity you have each week. Now I know why you love it so.

Popular Posts