Since basketball season kind of sucked in our house this year and Duke is already out of the tournament (Really? Ryan Kelly being out is going to screw us up that badly? Whatever. I’m over it), we decided to end my Spring Break with a bang. We went to a Maryland Outlaws football game (Can I just say I miss football so badly? We call basketball season that sad, boring time between football and baseball season in my house). The Outlaws are a semi-pro team–kind of like if you play in an independent league in baseball. They are also the offspring of the Frederick Falcons–the semi-pro team my daddy played for back in the day. While we were at the game, I realized that football families have a universal set of characteristics that holds true pretty much every time I’ve paid attention.
The first is that the females of the family are all the same type. How did I pick up on this? Because we were surrounded by people exactly like our family. Behind us, we had the mothers of the players who were screaming at the coach to run the ball because obviously the passing game wasn’t working worth crap. She was right. And about two plays later, the Outlaws ran the ball and scored. If you are a female in a football family, you know the game just as well as the boys. Think Friday Night Lights when all the women are in Applebee’s talking about how to win on Friday night. But the yelling doesn’t just hold to how the game should be ran. Oh, no. The yelling cannot just be directed at the coach. Your boy must be yelled at too. You have to yell at him to hit harder, run faster, catch cleaner, pass better. Most of all, hit harder (I was a little worried. These boys didn’t hit like their hearts were in it but it got a little better in the second half). My mama just kept saying how she was one of those girlfriends when my daddy played and how she’s afraid she’s going to be like that when her grandsons (Because we assume I will have a boy and we know he will play football) play. I fear for my future children because my daddy will want to coach and then their mama will be in the car on the way home…and she knows what she’s talking about.
Secondly, all the females just love them some football players. My mama and I were talking about Tim Riggins (Shocker, right?) when the lady in front of us turns around and starts talking about how much she loves him, too. She and my mama had a nice conversation about how they would be cougars for that boy and how since in real life he’s over 30, it’s okay. There were pictures from phones being showed and drooling over Taylor Kitsch in a flannel shirt. There was a conversation about how football butts drive us nuts and how we just know those tight pants were made for our pleasure. How else would guys get us to watch the game initially? I like to think that Tim Riggins is a universal love for all women, though, so I’m not sure about this one.
The final thing about female football family members is their feelings for cheerleaders. I will start this out with this: we do not hate cheerleaders as a whole. No. I completely respect cheerleaders who are good at gymnastics, dancing, stunts, and yelling. I appreciate it even more when the cheerleaders actually know what’s going on in the game. What we all agree we hate is those girls who are there because they want the cheerleader status (Think rally girl or jersey chaser). These are the girls who can’t actually dance or do stunts. Their cheers and routines are things 5-year-old committed cheerleaders could do. We have competitive cheerleaders in our family so we know how much work goes into it but that’s not the Outlaw ones. They couldn’t hold a girl properly on a lift. They dropped two basket catches. Their cheers are literally done by girls in pee-wee football. When actually dancing and moving, they weren’t too bad but they weren’t cheerleaders. This may have been why I felt the need to blow them off when I walked through the gate (My instincts from spending my entire life at a football field taught me well).
Now, there are some things that are apparently universal to all football families–not just the females. You know how to dress and what to bring to a game. The family in front of us was as prepared as us with hoodies and things to keep them entertained when the score got bad (In the Outlaws favor thankfully). Assuming when you go to a high school field you will be sitting on bleachers, blankets were brought (It didn’t occur to us that North High is the richest school in the county and they have actual stadium seating). And of course, you come prepared with extra money for t-shirts, novelties, and food.
Food is another thing. Every football family knows how to eat at a game. French fries are the number one, most important thing you must eat. Especially if they are cheese fries or if you know the fields so well that you know which has excellent fries (Yes, I judge fries. They are a very important food in my life). If you know the fries suck, the a soft pretzel is the go to. And of course, you can’t go without pizza or hotdogs. When I think about it, candy isn’t really a big seller to the families except for with the little kids. As far as drinks go, it covers the whole myriad. Hot chocolate is for the moms. Coffee and water are for the dads. Soda is for the kids. Gatorade is for the players (And the little brothers and sisters who play sports as well and want people to know that).
The final thing that holds true for every football family as I see it is that they have the same behaviors and tastes when it comes to music. The lady in front of us agreed that they kept cutting off the good songs (Seriously. They started and stopped AC/DC like 5 times). I saw another family dancing around to Party Rock Anthem. The son–a player–of the family in front of us was out on the field dancing around before the game (I cannot tell you how many times I did this before a softball game. It was good to know I’m not the only idiot who does stuff like that). When it comes to this kind of stuff, my mama and I will dance and sing like nobody’s business. And if it’s classic rock–especially Guns N Roses–my daddy is right there with us.
Baseball is and always will be my favorite sport but there is nothing like football. Baseball has fans but football is always a diehard situation. You don’t like football. You live football. Families like mine–where football season puts life on hold, your daddy has played or coached your whole life, and you know football (and play) better than the boys–is not exactly a rarity but it’s something that you hold near and dear to your heart when you are part of it. I think there’s a reason I’m so obsessed with Friday Night Lights and relate to it so much (Yeah, we may have referred to the Outlaws as wearing Dillon blue even though I think it was more Sabre blue from The Game. Hey, if the show has football, I’m in).