I played football in middle school in the local rec center league. I played center on offense, and noseguard on defense. The last year I played, our team was not only undefeated, but un-scored upon: we shut out every team we played against. It was a really exhilirating experience. My personal highlight was when I picked up a fumble just as the other team was about to score and ran it all the way back for a touchdown. I was the only lineman to score a goal.
Since then, I haven’t been much of a sports fan. I never got excited about the Super Bowl. I never watched Monday Night Football. I never got worked up about the OSU / Michigan rivalry. Heck, in my entire time as a student at the Ohio State University, I didn’t attend a single football game.
I’ve been less than charitable to football fans when I would see them in bars. While trying to enjoy a cold beverage, they had to spoil it with their shouting and whooping! I often commented “They can’t hear you!” under my breath, observing the absurdity of cheering in a bar. Indeed, the act of going to a bar simply to watch a sporting event was an alien notion to me.
So it was somewhat surprising when, a couple of weeks ago, Carina and I found ourselves at Bob’s Bar after a dinner date while the twins were with their biological father. We weren’t yet ready to call it a night, but didn’t have the energy for much more than a few twelve ounce curls. The OSU / Texas football game was about to begin, so I suggested that we stay to watch a little. (I took my dad to the OSU / N. Illinois game the previous weekend, so I can only surmise that I’d caught some kind of football bug.) Carina wasn’t entirely keen on the idea, and confessed this was because she was ignorant of the rules. I quickly explained the basics: first downs, touchdowns, extra points, and the common fouls. Armed with this basic understanding of the game, she agreed to watch a bit.
I didn’t notice, at first, that I was clapping. I don’t know when I gave my first whoop. It was when I high fived the complete stranger sitting next to me that I finally realized just how much fun I was having. And then I was in – hook, line, and sinker – and we couldn’t possibly go home before the end of the game! Carina had a good time, too; though I suspect part of her enjoyment was watching me get hysterically excited. ;)
This past weekend the twins were again at their biological father’s. Our friends Brooke and Matt invited us to Studio 35 to watch the OSU / Penn State game, and we quickly accepted. Again, Carina and I had an absolute ball. It helped, in no small way, that we won; but the experience of being with a bunch of people all sharing the same excited energy really opened my eyes to sports fans. And again, before I realized what was happening, I was on my feet and high fiving Brooke after a big play.
I think (hope!) it’ll be a while yet before I start painting my body scarlet and grey and wearing a colored wig…