Overlapping the end of daylight saving time and the beginning of standard time is a phenomenon known as football season. It dictates the timing of practically everything else, especially on weekends. Missing any part of a college or pro game is crushing to most hard core fans. “Now we’ve got to wait until after football season,” I said at least twice last week to friends who’ve been planning get-togethers. And I know not to schedule anything with my boyfriend on Saturdays or Sundays until mid-February 2017.
Except for screaming in the stands at every one of my sons’ high school games, I hadn’t been into football much before moving 20 years ago to a city that has an NFL franchise. There’s no escaping that excitement. Now I’m definitely into the tailgating, partying, wearing teal and black, cheering … even watching a play now and then. My sons are impressed that I can talk football somewhat intelligently in my senior years. It’s no longer necessary to refresh my knowledge of a down before every game, but I still wish footballs were bright yellow so I could see them. I look forward to visiting Pennsylvania next week where it will feel more like football season, hearing my family shout at the Eagles on TV and, most of all, rooting for my grandson during his first year of playing high school football.
Football season is definitely a fun buffer between summer and Christmas, a five-month celebration of hope, hype and, too often, despair. Here’s some of my fan gear:
Decades ago back in PA, while my sons rooted for their teams—one for Philadelphia, the other for Pittsburgh—I paid little attention to stats or scores.
My Steelers fan raised his kids with the same team spirit. High school football posters of him and his brother shared a wall with a Ben Roethlisberger fathead.
Often on Super Sunday my mother and I would go to a mall or movie. Even now, with my relative enthusiasm for the sport, I dread Super Bowl parties where everyone actually watches every second of the entire game. Wine or beer with tacos, great camaraderie, an occasional glance at the score, and paying close attention the last two minutes—which is usually about 20—is my kind of Super Bowl party. Several years ago I hosted one. “Uh, Mom, did you get a new TV?” my son on the other coast asked. Oh no, I panicked, just then thinking about my old set with the small screen. As they left after the game, my friends tossed dollar bills onto my kitchen table toward a new TV fund.
This Saturday my boyfriend and I attended a late afternoon housewarming, our arrival and departure carefully calculated by the times of the Alabama and Florida games. I would be shocked, I told him when he asked if I thought the hosts would have the games on TV. Lucky for him and a handful of other fans, a teenage boy switched the channel from music to football. His action took me back to the mid-‘70s when cable TV was new and required a wrench or pliers to connect. Not wanting one of my parties spoiled by the men (yeah, mostly, back then) watching football, I disconnected the cable and hid my husband’s tools in the washing machine. Playing dumb while the desperate guys freaked out, I watched one of them hook the television back up with a pocket knife. (More than once I was told that was grounds for divorce.)
Making it back from the housewarming party in time, my boyfriend settled in to watch the remainder of the second game while I checked email, Facebook and other stuff in another room. After all the griping about possibly missing important plays, he was unusually quiet. No “Go Gators!” or more scathing shouts. I returned to find him asleep in front of the screen. One of the hazards of golden years football.
Photo gamely posed the next day.