Maybe I fell in love with high school football because when I was in high school, Friday night football was ALL there was to do in our town. Seriously, we had one "restaurant" - a Dairy Queen, which is where my first job was. I made $1.50 and hour and had to wear all white. And nurses' shoes.
I was supposed to be a cheerleader my 10th grade year, but I quit before the season started. It may have been a recurring knee problem (the damn things just pop out of place for no reason at all), or it may have been a deep-seated feeling that I wasn't cheerleader material. Anyway, I marched in the bank that year, playing the glockenspiel, and my junior and senior years I was on the drill team. So Friday night football was my social life for all of high school (and for most of my friends too).
Even after high school, I couldn't get away from going to the football games. I remember hanging around one Friday night talking to Figment (my crush from high school and beyond, but boy am I glad now that he wouldn't give me the time of day), and I was probably all googly-eyed or something. He wanted to go to medical school, but he abandoned those plans in college (I'm not sure why - maybe he wasn't smart enough), and along the way he was a police officer for a while and then an EMT. (He's now a P.A., and he has treated my mother before. Horrors!) The night I was chatting with him at the ballgame, we were standing along the fence (because cool people NEVER sit down at a high school football game), and he casually mentioned that he hoped they didn't need the ambulance that night, because it wouldn't crank. I think he was trying to impress me with the fact that he and the EMT's on duty that night were BFF's or something. Whatever.
I swear it hadn't been 5 minutes since we had that conversation when the announcer came on the P.A. system and said they needed the ambulance on the field. (Looking back, I'm not sure why they had to ANNOUNCE it. A football field is pretty big, it's pretty much the center of attention, and I'm pretty sure everything had come to a screeching halt.) Figment looked at me, and I looked at him, and he took off running. Again, I think that only made him LOOK important. Unless he had a battery tucked in his pants, there wasn't a whole lot he could do.
Even after I started teaching, I was still part of Friday night football. Perhaps it made me look like a dedicated teacher, but in reality it was just an excuse. I loved the lights, the band, the cheerleaders, the cool night air, the ceremony, the tradition, the pep rallies, everything. I even wore the school colors, even though they were HIDEOUS together. (Red and gold - yuck! Only it's hard to find clothes that are truly "gold," so we usually wound up wearing red and yellow. Double yuck!! I didn't mind wearing them to school, but darned if I didn't hate having to stop at the store wearing those garish things.) I didn't just WATCH the games, though. I became COMPLETELY CAUGHT UP IN THEM. I remember at one game, early in my career, I was sitting alone because I didn't know anyone yet who wasn't smart enough to stay home on a Friday night, and there was a punt into the end zone. I screamed at the receiver, "DOWN IT!!!" Every single person in our section turned around to look at me. I wanted to say, "WHAT?????" but it was apparent they thought I was nuts for being so into a high school game.
When Sweet Girl was in high school, I attended the games to see her march in the band, and one time Hubby and I even served as chaperones to an away game. That was the only time we did that though; I thought Hubby was going to get thrown off the bus for misbehavior.
I don't have any reason to go to Friday night games right now. I'm hopeful for the future, though, because my great-nephew will be in high school next year. He's 6'3" in the 8TH GRADE, and the high school coaches are salivating for him to get there. And oh yeah, one year on his standardized tests, he missed a question. One. Question. So he's not just a jock. I can't wait to go see him play. I hope for all that's holy their colors are not red and "gold."