“C’mon Soo! Buckle Down!”

I was in 6th grade and it was my first football game ever. The Sault High Blue Devils were on the field, and I was totally amazed to hear Grandroobly yelling something like that, at the top of his lungs, no less. My grandfather (Grandroobly’s dad) was also with us. My cousin Mac was on the team, which was probably why we were there. I don’t remember Grandroobly going to many football games. The bank was open on Friday nights and that meant he had to work.

It was all very exciting. I mean, I don’t remember doodly-squat about who the other team was or who won and I sure didn’t understand the game. But it was a night game under those big lights and everybody was yelling and screaming and jumping up and down, all of which I *loved* to do, and they probably bought me popcorn or whatever and maybe even root beer at the A & W afterward.

I have occasionally disparaged football players here on this blahg, calling them neanderthals and whatnot. But my feelings are really a bit more complicated than that. I do think that young athletes, particularly in popular spectator sports like football, are often made into heroes before they have the maturity to handle the responsibilities that go along with stardom. In the worst cases, some of these kids get to thinking they are above the law, sometimes encouraged by coaches who have lost sight of the ball, so to speak. Too often the local newspaper headlines read “Football Players Caught Stealing Beer from 7-11” or “Star Quarterback Crashes Brand New Cadillac Escalade: Driving on Suspended License” or “Coach Hosts Party for Team, Alcohol Served” or (ugh) “Girl Alleges Gang Rape by Football Players.”

I also know that the athletes that make headlines like this are a small minority. Not all football players are inherently evil or even stupid. If my cousin and his friends ever made the newspaper, it was for helping the team win a game. Most coaches are not corrupt. And to be fair, I have met a few pretty sketchy music directors in my day, so this stuff is not limited to the world of athletics. But football is a high profile activity and I think that the participants should be just as carefully coached to be good citizens and compassionate, fallible human beings as they are in the fine points of the gridiron.

The real reason I don’t go to football games is that I’m simply not that interested. I still don’t understand the rules very well. I don’t care enough to learn. I’m not a very good spectator in general. Sitting around watching something for hours on end is not my bag. Concerts and plays fall into the same category. If I have to be at such an event, I much more enjoy the excitement and activity that goes on behind the scenes — a backstage kind of gal who likes to help keep things running smoothly. I still like to yell and scream and jump up and down but I need to have a better reason than because it’s what everybody else is doing.

It’s football season again. If you like football, go and have a great time! Yell and scream and jump up and down for me! I will be following the U of M schedule very closely so I can be as far away from the games and the crowds and the traffic as I can get. Kayaking, hiking, reading, writing, thinking, programming, knitting, beading, and slugging around on the beach if at all possible.

8 Responses to ““C’mon Soo! Buckle Down!””

  1. Webmomster Says:

    As *someone* we all know and love sez: “Football is entertainment for the Marching Band!” I agree.

    The only reason I attend football games is to see the pre-game & halftime shows, fergoshsakes!! The neanderthals (and I hate to insult the real Neanderthals) are the people who stand up and/or rudely walk in front of me and/or yell across me during these halftime shows – obviously completely ignorant of the fact that I’m WATCHING?!?!?!

    They have no clue that marching bands work harder than any football team out there. Think about it. EVERYONE is working – there’s no “sitting out to take a rest or warming the bench”; EVERYONE has to be out there for the performance to be done right. How many football players can do a series of precision turns, directional changes, cross the field all while playing music that had been memorized over the course of a couple of days? Hm? And do it WITHOUT tackling someone?? Or falling?? Or dropping what your holding?? Or “getting to do it over again because you screwed up”??

  2. Webmomster Says:

    whoops – there were supposed to be 2 items in there: a “<rant>” and a “</rant>”

  3. acourtois Says:

    When I first started out writing this monstrosity, marching band was pretty much foremost in my mind. But it turned into a football blahg. Sometimes these things just take on a life of their own, not always for the better ;-). I did marching band in high school. When I first started college, marching bands were “men” only and flute players were just not needed. It was okay with me. At that time, I had a pretty snotty little attitude going that I was a “real” musician and too good to march. Wrong wrong wrong!!! And one of these days I will definitely do a marching band blahg.

    And marching on the Sault High Blue Devils field was not really very glamorous. It was usually raining or snowing and one of my foremost memories was of losing a shoe in the mud and having to break formation to go back and get it 🙂

    Valdemort, if you have any time to drop in on this: we are all very proud of you, I love you and all those dern trombones, and YOU GO GIRL! Yay for marching bands.

  4. jane Says:

    Hey Banana – I swear I remember going to a U-M football game with you, and I think Pooh and Joyce. It was probably the early 70’s, and I think it was against Purdue for some reason. This was before the games were sold out so we wandered around and picked a good seat. And I suspect I ate a hot dog. 😉 I am a football fan, but also do my best to avoid the traffic. GO BLUE!

  5. Webmomster Says:

    and I think there’s a story from “way back when” about some short trombone player standing in cold mud up to his ankles in front of the band playing some solo during halftime…

  6. Valdemort Says:

    GO GREEN!!!

    You’d dern well better believe it’s all about the band!!! And I expect to see y’all A2 folks when I come to march the pants off of the blue band!!!

    And who says random tackles *don’t* happen during drill??? : P

    >: D

    . . . And the marching bands are still “men” and flutes are not needed. And those of us who are not men do our best to look like men. OMG SATURDAY!!!

  7. acourtois Says:

    Valdemort: checked out the SMB website trombone section. You are a Fin. Not only are you the most beautiful girl out there, you have the most to say 🙂

    Jane: when I started this entry I wanted to talk about our trips from Siberia to A2 to go to games. I didn’t get there, I will some day. It was a huge part of my life. I think we usually sat in the end zone.

  8. Webmomster Says:

    wait! hold the phone, er, keyboard!! whaddaya mean about FLUTES NOT NEEDED! maybe not in the marching band, but without us flutes the world would be a pretty ugly place!!!

    …and YOU, Ms. Valdemort-who-thinks-she-looks-like-a-man-while-in-uniform, wouldn’t be here!! hahahahahaha!!!