After some random, and some might consider fortuitous, events, I found myself in my hometown at a high school football game this past weekend. It was my high school (Central High) against our rival (Reitz.) When my mom told me that they were planning to go, my first thought was "Wait, Central has a rival?" closely followed by, "Wait, Central cares about football??"
This is quite a change from when I was in high school. For reasons I won't go into here, I was required to attend every home football game in high school. I didn't know diddly squat about football at the time, but I do remember losing all the time, so I think we pretty much ranked right above the middle school in terms of talent. Maybe below the middle school...what do I know?
That has apparently changed, so since I got home early enough, I went to the game with my parents.
My first thought as I walked into the stadium, was to wonder why there were little elementary and middle school children at a high school game. The two girls I saw were painted in Reitz colors, and running around with extreme enthusiasm - they may as well have been chasing their tails in circles....they had that much energy as they ran around. As I proceeded through the crowd to my seat, I realized that those little girls were high school students. Seriously. When did they get so small??? I mean, obviously they were freshmen, and there were some students who actually looked like they were in high school (juniors and seniors, I guess) but the others were tiny!! I immediately felt old. Old and removed from the younger generation. I had to remember that it's been 10 years since I've been in high school. That's a long time, right?
At this point, the joke I had made to my dad earlier, "I was going to wear a t-shirt that said 'Central Alumni – guess the year'" didn't seem as funny. I'm old. I accept it.
As we waited for the game to start, I was floored at the number of really pretty, really skinny girls walking around in very little clothing. They were all painted school colors, of course, but wearing the equivalent of what I would wear to a club if I was hoping to get lucky that night. Seriously. Since when has body paint been considered an acceptable body covering? Then I started to wonder, where were the other girls. You know, the ones who probably aren't as beautiful and skinny?? I mean, the entire school can't be made up of cheerleader type girls, can it? That opened the floodgates to memories of exactly how ruthless high school is, and how high school football games are probably avoided like the plague by girls who don't feel like they fit in.
I said a quick prayer of thanks that I am no longer in high school.
Then, not two minutes into the game, I turned to my dad and said, "Methinks there are some in Evansville who take high school football a tad too seriously."
I mean, when all you hear is "YEEEEEEAAAAAH BABY!!!" or "MAKE HIM FEEL IT!!! IF YOU HIT HIM, MAKE HIM FEEL IT!" and "REF ARE YOU BLIND? THAT WASN'T AN INTERCEPTION! HE DROPPED THE BALL!!!! and "YEEEEEEAAAAAH BABY" the game loses something. When he starts stomping on the bleacher that you're sitting on to make MORE noise (not the foot-rail, mind you – he was standing on the actual bleacher and stomping on it) well, you start to get a little angry. I mean, it's hard to be cheerful when your teeth are vibrating from the force of his "enthusiasm."
It's not that I wasn't enthusiastic - I was cheering. I mean, I was supporting my team as much as I could, but, you know…it's not like they can hear me. I wasn't shouting advice to particular players…nor to refs… Nor was I trying to be the loudest person present. I mean, did this man think he was in Texas or what? It's high school football for goodness' sake. High school football in Indiana. Maybe he thought it was a basketball game by mistake?
As the game progressed, between shooting dirty glances at the loud man behind me, I noticed other things that made me laugh.
I may have already mentioned that my family is NOT a sports family. In fact, I didn't really know that professional sports existed until after college. That said, have you seen the movie Anchorman? You know the part where all the guys are yelling and angry that Christina Applegate has been named to their staff? Steve Carrel, who's slightly mentally retarded, starts yelling things like, "LOUD NOISES!" and "I DON'T KNOW WHY WE'RE YELLING." just to join in. This is what I was reminded of when my mother would randomly break out in "PUSH THEM ALL THE WAY BACK!" and "GUARD THE RIGHT!" I wasn't sure if she really knew what she was saying or just imitating the loud man behind me. She was very enthusiastic, though, and it was fun entertainment.
The obnoxiousness of the Obnoxious Man became more and more apparent as the rest of the fans got quieter and had to try harder to rally when the first half looked like this:
First possession Reitz - field goal
First possession Central - interception run back to the 5 yard line
Second possession Reitz - touchdown
Second possession Central - first down, then fumble resulting in turnover
Third possession Reitz - touchdown
Third possession Central - touchdown/two point conversion (yay!!)
Fourth possession Reitz - touchdown
And we went into halftime at a score of Reitz 24, Central 8, things looked bleak.
During halftime, the marching band took the field. Why did I care? Well...let's just say that perhaps I have some personal experience with the marching band. In my unbiased opinion, the marching band for Reitz was HORRIBLE. I mean, they were really bad. And I DO remember that the Reitz marching band used to kill the Central marching band all throughout my high school experience.
I turned to my dad when the band was coming out and said, "They used to kill us when I was in school." Then I watched their god-awful performance and turned to my dad and said, "They were really bad. I mean, really bad. And they used to KILL us." I think he expected me to say, "Man, they must have gotten a LOT worse." Instead I said, "Wow. We must have REALLY sucked." He laughed. Then there was an awkward pause while neither of us spoke, and one of my high school illusions was shattered.
Apparently my high school marching band was terrible. I am crushed. Moving on...
The second half began, and with it, the blissful silence of halftime ended. The Obnoxious Man returned from wherever he had been. But apparently, during halftime, someone lit a fire under the asses of the Central Bears. (Maybe it was the Obnoxious Man?? Or maybe my mom??) Reitz did not score again and Central won the game 27-24. It was fabulous. The announcer for the "Mighty Panthers" got more and more quiet. The home team fans were stunned into silence, and after the game was over the scoreboard was on for approximately 30 seconds before it was shut off and the evidence erased. Even with the Obnoxious Man behind me, it was fabulous.