For anyone who has called my phone in the last few months, you probably heard that I'm working at the car wash. (If you haven't heard my ringback, shame on you for not calling me; but not really:)) Today is an especially slow day because I woke up at sevenish to come to work, and right now I just really want to get to the gym, so the day can't go fast enough. Something about fall brings out the gym freak in me, and I'm pretty sure its the fact that football is in the air. This is the first fall minus two years in ukraine that I will not be involved in anything related to football since I was eight. The last two years in badgerville playing for snow were something I could never have predicted in a good way, so many good memories and good friends and things that I miss right now. If you haven't ever seen a Snow game, put it on your list of things to do with high priority. If you need a road trip buddy to go down, I'm always in. This year, I have the privilege of traveling to Stillwater, OK; Ephraim, UT; St George, UT; and hopefully either Las Vegas or Tempe to see football games this year. Next year, I plan on doubling that list if it becomes possible. Why? My own personal conviction is that Football is the best spectator sport in America, period, end of argument. If you haven't found your love for the game, I've come up with a top ten list so to speak, of things to do in order to become involved in football. Without further ado....
1. Pick a Team Carefully- A few years back, I decided to become a Bengals fan, mostly because they sucked and I didn't want to be let down anymore, after seeing the Titans fall nine inches short of winning the super bowl. In my hastiness, I neglected to weigh several critical measures. One, location, because you'll want to be able to watch your team often enough, and utah and cincy are nowhere near each other. Two, history. I love the san diego padres, and part of that reason is they have a lot of former players and success that I can look back on. Plus, dope old school unis. Three, fan following. Its one thing to go to the extreme like michigan, but if you are going to commit to a team, you better hope that their fan base is as devoted as you are...
2. One and Done- Once you pick a team, stick with it. This is the hardest part for me because I like seeing success, and right now most of my teams seem to enjoy the bottom half of their divisions more than the top. Plus, I get attached to players, so right now I like watching the Angels because I see Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick, both former bees players. I like the Chargers because of Eric Weddle, and the Minnesota Twins because they remind me of the Jazz, small market, good guys, and dedicated fans. But when it boils down to it, I still love my bungles and my padres above all.
3. Game Experience- Few things can rival the experience of being in the crowd of the team that you are cheering for, either home or away. I can still vividly picture the scene of Rice Eccles stadium the day of a Utah-BYU the one time that I got field passes. The sounds, the smell, pregame tailgate, all of it combining with a literal energy of excitement that at times feels like you could reach out and grab it. At this point, the love of football will become contagious. Test me on this...
4. Buying Apparel- Now that you have the game experience under your belt, its time to really commit. Hats, Jerseys, Shirts, even Wristbands, are symbols of your commitment, kind of like wedding rings. Much of who you are and how people perceive you will come from what you are wearing. A quick recommendation, don't wear a jersey unless you are A, at a costume party, B, going to the game or watching it with a group of people, and C, are under the age of 14. Any other situations, no matter how convincing your drunken buddies may be, are completely restricted. No exceptions. I'm telling you, stick to this rule. Otherwise you'll end up being the dumb ass grown up with the glove that miffs the foul ball and everyone boos at. I'm not even joking. No. Not even that. Just stop thinking about it.
5. Join a Fantasy League- Personal philosophy, competition makes everything sweeter. Also, every game takes on new meaning because one way or another, your team will be involved in the game. Its a whole new level of football.
6.The Dover Effect, or I I-80ed in my pants???- I would never ever encourage anyone to do anything that they feel compromises their morals, but for those of you like me, whose morals somehow get lost at the Utah-Nevada state line, betting on games can really increase the thrill. Football is an emotional, adrenaline-driven game. What better way to get yourself emotionally involved than to lay a few benjamins down and pray that they find their way home?
7. Kick it Old School- Nothing will teach you the basics of football like a little league or high school game. Its Utah, so there's no way you can use the excuse of not knowing anyone who plays either little league or high school. Besides, if you're like me, you don't have shit else to do on a friday so why not?
8. Turkey Bowl- Football is a terrific spectator sport, if not the best of all time, but most people who watch football at one point in time acutally played the game. For those of you who missed out on your high school glory years, fear not. A yearly ritual requires little more than a fiery attitude, a cheap pair of cleats and some good non-tear sweats. That's right, Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowls are far and wide across the country Thanksgiving morning, and there is no better way to show your thanks for our freedom than using it to put someone on the turf. Whats even more fun is watching as all the has beens pull hamstrings, tear crucial ligaments, and bloody their faces, all in the name of thanksgiving glory. If that doesn't whet your appetite, I ask you to please punch yourself in the stomach, because you deserve it.
So I said it was a top ten of sorts, but I lied, there are only eight reasons here, but just the same, each one is worth like ten in and of itself, so you can't really complain. Besides, its a free blog and if you disagree most likely you'll either tell me, or just stop reading, but either way, my hope with this little piece of electronic parchment is that more people will come to understand my obsession, and yes, it is an obsession, with football. I know not everyone will love it the way that I do, just like I don't understand dance or baseball with the passion of a former dancer or baseball player, but even the non athlete can enjoy and love the game of football, and that right there might be the best reason of all.