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Monday, September 19, 2005

Football season

I love football season. Football, I am indifferent. But football season I love.

It hearalds the fall, newness, and the memory of high school games. Racing to the stadium an hour early for pep band. LeAnn and I careening down Main street, pulling on our uniforms as we drove. (Well, I was able to wiggle into my flag corps outfit and flash passersby; LeAnn had to wait until she could stand up straight before being buckled into her straitjacket of a marching-band uniform.) In the early days of the season, the late afternoon sun would still be hot, and we'd stretch across the concrete steps amidst a cacophony of brass and woodwinds warming up. Then we'd line up by the locker room, instruments aloft, flags whipping in the breeze. The toms started pounding out our school song, drumbeats on the warpath, and the football players would stream through our tunnel and onto the field. There was a glorious feeling of belonging, of togetherness. Sometimes catching glimpses of a grass field crisscrossed with padded, uniformed players, and rickety stands holding family and friends makes me nostalgic for my own Friday Night Lights.

(It wasn't until my senior year that I could even follow the game, that I understood the direction our team was running pointed to our goal. I still don't know which positions stand where on the field--and I really don't care--but at least I have some sense of what happens.)

In college, the season signified lazy Saturday afternoons in the dorms, distant cheers from the stadium and, for one year, a glimpse of the field from my room. Rising late, lunch in a nearly empty cafeteria, and trips to Walmart in the afternoon. Blaring Alanis's "Jagged Little Pill" while preparing for a night out, drinking screwdrivers from plastic mugs if we were lucky enough to corral a 21-year-old before the liquor stores closed at 9 p.m.

After college, it took me a few years to lose the fall expectations, to get used to life continuing as usual, no school year to begin. And football became related to my relatives, turkey and stuffing, ham, kielbasa, and sauerkraut. Holiday dinners.

This weekend, I treated the apartment to a deep cleaning. Tim didn't have class. I scrubbed the stove while he exercised in the living room. He had the game turned on while he lunged, squatted, and did various exercise-y things. Alabama spanked the hell out of South Carolina. Periodically we'd chant: "Roll Tide! Roll!" (I feel that since Alabama is paying for Tim's degree, we should have some school pride.)

It was a perfect, beautiful day. In the evening, we went to a class dinner; at 7 p.m., twilight had already settled in, and the night vibrated with excitement, with beginnings. The biggest, orangest, Georgia peach of a full moon sat on the horizon.

I love football season.


Anonymous LeAnn said...

This is interesting, Ellie...the feeling of belonging and togetherness. I remember it too, and only yesterday I ran across something you'd written to me in high school about those football games, and it took me back to that time. And today, driving through Emporia, I looked around and was suddenly incredibly lonely and forlorn, and the past looked so distant, because it is. I miss you!

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Lesley said...

I always miss our hometown the most during the fall. And yes, there was football, but there was all of you! Remember that we sometimes went to the Owl Car when it served Mexican food on Friday nights? I miss all of that. We should plan a reunion of our own back there, some fall.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I miss the crisp of fall, when the air is just beginning to crackle and the praire calls. It's almost here, when the grass begs for me to roam...

And of course the start of school when we were all together during the day again!

11:11 AM  

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