Oct 21, 2008

From the Desk

by Jennifer Schmidt

Homecoming is just around the corner, but for a student who has yet to graduate, a more appropriate title might be “home appreciation” or “homestaying.” Forgive my lazy attempt at a lame joke, and let’s focus on the fact that homecoming gives regular students an excuse to get excited about football and Liberty in general. It fascinates me that I love football related activities even while I have no idea what a third down conversion is or where to find the red zone. Don’t even ask me what happens when a tuck roll is mentioned or play names come out – flea flicker, quarterback draw or half-back sweep (to be honest, I had to ask the sports editors for these terms because I didn’t know any plays).

The irony truly runs deep. For some reason I love everything associated with football – the crisp air, the tailgating, the school spirit, the football players . . . But it only takes until the middle of the first half, when the national anthem is long over and the half time show is still far in the future, that I realize I have no idea what is going on in the game. I can generally discern which team is Liberty, and guessing the direction we’re moving only takes me until the second down. Journalists are trained to have keen observation skills after all. Yet beyond the basic terms “first down” and “touchdown,” I am left scratching my head in confusion. By the time the first penalty is called or a yellow flag comes out my mind has wandered to what everyone will do after the game or trying to figure out what state the other team is from.

In the midst of my daydreams, something good typically happens and everyone starts cheering. Naturally, I throw my hands up in the air and scream along with everyone else. If the hype lasts long enough I hope a guy is nearby to explain why everyone is so excited. Then again, the answers I get are typically vague (ie. “there was a penalty”) and do nothing to alleviate my confusion.

I say all of this not to prove that I deserve my hair color (blonde for those less intuitive or who simply don’t know me), but rather to draw attention to the culture of football. Maybe it’s nostalgia I feel, remembering Sunday afternoons when I would doze next to myDad with the Eagles game on TV. Or maybe it’s something more. Perhaps it is the basic love that man has for competitive passion, or just the primal thirst to see men hit each other. I won’t try to figure it out. All I know is the power of the pigskin to bring people together. Thanksgiving football games in the front yard, high school powder puff and college rivalries – it’s all so American, and so understandable.


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