What Only Football Fans Can Experience
I believe in football. I believe in the banners and the cheering, the colors and the fans. I believe it has the power to bring people together. Before I got into high school, I didn’t like football. To me, the sport was a noisy radio, or the act of my parents leaving me at home with a babysitter every Saturday in the fall, or even worse, being dragged to countless games in Athens, while I was kicking and screaming the entire way. Football was a chore because I had to sit still and pretend I enjoyed watching it. And yet all I saw was a blood sport. I saw huge men fighting and stepping all over each other, wrestling to capture the precious football. I saw normally sane people in the stands turn crazy and start screaming obscenities to the tiny coaches that stood hundreds of feet below us. What a pointless waste of time, I thought to myself.
Once I got into high school however, my entire perspective of the game changed. My school’s team, the Raiders, made it to the third round of the state playoffs. The Friday we were going to play the Lions, our school was offering free transportation in the form of spirit buses. I climbed on board. The stadium was huge, and our entire side of it was filled with blue, our school’s color. I came in with blue pompoms, ready for a killer game. As the players burst through the spirit banner, a feeling of joy and acceptance fell over me. I felt like I was finally enjoying my life. The quarters flew past before my eyes, and before I knew it, there were eight seconds left in the game. I watched in awe as the ball sailed through the posts for a field goal as the last seconds ticked away. Euphoria! We had won the game by one point. The Raider fan base, including me, leaped and climbed over the side of the stands and onto the field. We filled it with a sea of blue. I sprained my ankle badly upon landing, which would take months to heal. But I ran anyway. I didn’t care about my ankle or that we were flooding someone else’s field, I was too caught up in the moment. People were screaming and cheering, the team was jumping up and down, and I hugged people I didn’t even know. For one moment, I forgot about the wars that I would face tomorrow at school and at home, and I rejoiced with my friends. That was the beauty of it. No matter who you were, if you loved Raider football, you were a friend.
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