I believe NCAA Division IA football is by far the greatest creation in the history of humankind. Although professional and even semi-professional football leagues may exist, and showcase the finest athletes walking planet earth, there is something about college football that evokes an intense excitement. Whether in the stadium on the concrete benches, elbow to elbow with fellow fans; or at home on the beloved, yet weathered, sofa outfitted with an all too familiar butt groove, any game, some how brightens up any day.
Imagine, if you will, that you’re seated in the blue section, or better yet the student section, of Memorial Stadium, home of the greatest college football team of all, the Cal Berkeley Golden Bears. Hours before even warm-ups, the anticipation builds. The numbers in attendance swell far beyond predefined maximums. The campus is a buzz and pep rallies are plentiful. As you sit next to your fellow minions in your true blue and gold striped polo shirt, you sip a giant Dr. Pepper, held in your commemorative, limited edition, oversized mug. You scream and, “whoo,” at any mention to the Bears; and swear, curse, and boo at any mention of the opposing team. In the distance you hear the quiet roar of the preparing band– a staple, perhaps even the center of the college football experience. Suddenly the bears take the field. Skill players dash around with lightening quick speed, the line backers and defensive line march out oozing with power, and, “The Big Uglies,” waddle onto the field ready to protect and sacrifice life and/or limb, for their quarterbacks and running backs. By the end of the game victory has been achieved and with the rest of the attending followers you have stormed the field to congratulate the Bears and shout obscenities at the losers– specifically the losers band because, lets face it, they’re an easy target. Your throat throbs– your voice is all but gone and your ears ring from the riot they have been exposed to for the last three hours. Yet there is no more an honorable or valiant way to inflict such hardships on oneself. Celebration will take place far into the night and into the next day.
I believe in cheering, rooting, and living for this game. I believe the bass drums of the band beat as one as do our hearts in the stands. I believe in the heart of the players and the future they one day hope to achieve. Like every other individual in the student body they are chasing their dreams; creating a divine feeling of connection all too powerful to ignore. I believe in the overwhelming loyalty and pride of the players and fans. I believe that an insult directed towards your team carries an equal or greater amount of disrespect as any insult directed towards your mother. I believe it is cruel and unusual punishment to be scheduled to work on Saturdays during the college football season. Furthermore, I believe my boss is the spawn of Satan for practicing the previously described taboo of scheduling me to work on Saturdays. I also believe Rivalry games should under most circumstances have priority over any and all anniversaries which may or may not fall on the day and/or weekend of said game. I believe the mascots for each and every school are representatives, or ambassadors if you will, to the fans, and at any given chance should violently attack the opposing team’s mascot. But most of all, I believe that everyone should give this game a try on two or more occasions in order to fully experience what I’m trying to explain.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.