Friday, September 19, 2014

a tale of two universities

In my sixty odd years on this planet I have never gone to a college football game. Call it luck, call it divine intervention, call it clever ingenuity on my part. Keep in mind I possess the soul of a true and pure introvert and that makes the discussion a little more believable. I am accustomed to rude people calling me a party pooper when I attempt an early leave, They smirk and wait for my embarrassed response. I should call them on it. I should say,"at least I'm not a needy, attention-grabbing narcissistic blowhard. If I were, there'd be two of us."

But I digress. I have been lured into attending this event at my kids' alma mater university town one hundred miles away because the young grandchildren will also be attending and this means more face time with them. We adorn ourselves in the University of Iowa Hawkeye attire of black and gold. Except for my spouse. He is an angry Iowa State University alumnus. His red and gold shirt sports six-inch letters that scream BEAT IOWA. He has written letters to our editor demanding more coverage of his team and accosted local store managers because they do not carry ISU wearables. But alas he is in Hawkeye Land and this will never happen.

Our car has crawled to a near-stop as we enter the town and I look up from my book to see hundreds, no thousands of people milling and churning, bees in a hive, all heading in the same direction towards the Holy Grail, the sitting Buddha, Elvis's Graceland, their Mecca.  Waiting to worship in the big round half-bubble arena in the distance. Thousands. I have made a colossal mistake.

I am afraid to get out of the car. I am afraid what will await me out there. There are no parking spaces. We end up in a city ramp and are unloading our food baskets when two friendly policeman approach us and explain there is no tailgating here, public property and all. We quickly wolf down cold hot dogs and spoonfuls of hummus and pineapple slices. It's just getting worse.

We climb and climb up to our seats and masculine-themed rutting AC/DC tunes are blasting me senseless. On the field huge men are chest bashing each other and pumping their fists in the air and the fans are pig-grunting their approval. Everything is blown up and threatening to me. I feel like a small soft piece of fluff on a foreign ocean. The student sections are roiling, churning masses of humanity, they move as one large ferocious animal, waiting, NO, begging, NO demanding spilled blood. And they have it.  By game's end four students limp and stumble their way off the field. Young healthy bodies should not act that way. I picture an eighty-year-old man decades from now rubbing his hip in front of the fireplace and remembering that golden September afternoon long ago.

I am sitting next to cowboys and boy scouts, Harley riders and cavemen, astronauts and every kind of manly man. Here in this stadium everybody is a manly man, even a small bespectacled older woman with an incredibly attractive family .  No matter how lewd and uncontrolled and barbaric football can be it's legal and allowable and encouraged. It is the ALL AMERICAN SPORT, thus we give it our highest and mightiest stamp of authenticity.

 And I can't believe I'm enjoying it.


Dan said...

You should write more.

Arizaphale said...

'masculine-themed rutting AC/DC tunes'.....

Gold :-D