Football is Back – A Religious Experience
If you are new to West Texas, or the South in general, let me baptize you with a post victory Gatorade bath of all things football! In case you aren’t aware, there is a book turned Hollywood featured film and television series, which is centered around West Texas football – its that big of a deal. If you are a newbie, that might be the best place to start, Friday Night Lights. The Permian Basin is full of the quintessential small one light towns, which completelyshut down on Friday nights and whole community comes together with one purpose and one cause - to cheer their team to victory. I vividly remember, at the impressionable age of 12, traveling with my entire extended family all over the state of Texas to follow the Stanton High School football team to every playoff game. No matter the weather, no matter the distance we were there all the way to the 1997 State Championship game. Somewhere around middle of the summer, the high school football season kicks off with two-a-day practices where adolescent boys become young men. Then the pinnacle of high school football hits with homecoming, which is another post in itself. That is just the tip of the football iceberg.
If high school is where you learn your love of football, college is when you earn your degree in full-blown football obsession through the classes of rivalries, tailgates, fight songs and traditions. To help you understand my football fanaticism credentials, my husband and I promised, “to be each other’s weekend football warriors,” in our wedding vows. I’ve seen lifelong friendships lost over rivalry college football games. You defend your school to the bitter end. The Fighting’ Texas Aggies have a saying, “from the outside looking in you can’t understand it, from the inside looking out you can’t explain it.” Our traditions are often described as cult-like, and like most of the college football teams’ traditions, they are so deeply etched in our souls that there might be some truth to it. Whether you Gig Em, Wreck Em, Hook Em, Sic Em or yell the coined phrase of your team, Saturdays in any football loving householdbegins with College Gameday, our pregame study session for the day. The grills are fired up and the kegs iced down in preparation. We reach into our closets for the colors our hearts bleed for. Entire wardrobes are dedicated to gameday attire. Our children from infancy are donned with the colors of their parent’s teams. We yell, we cuss, we sing our fight songs in an off tune chorus of football fanatics. I’ve seen televisions sacrificed at the alter of an intercepted pass and the four lettered words of anguish flow freely from the mouths of sweet southern ladies over a horrible referee’s call. (Yes, even this Christian woman, oops!)
But it doesn’t end there; we wake up the next day nursing hangovers and hoarse voices to do it again for our pro teams. Sundays are sacred for a few reasons in West Texas, church and Dallas Cowboys football. If your husband has recently gone missing for a few days, he might be off with his buddies planning, strategizing, and scheming for their fantasy football drafts. At the beginning of each season all fans utter the same phrase, “this is our year to win the Super Bowl!” We defend that statement, as though it was fact through the ups and downs of each week. Memories are made the first time we attend a pro game filled with blue and white stars in the grandest of stadiums, watching those girls in white boots dance in a chorus line at Jerry’s world, idolizing our favorite players then yelling, “you hero, you goat!” when their pass is intercepted.
Then just like that, the season is over. We have this gaping hole in our hearts for another six months. Our weekends feel incomplete somehow. But for the next few weeks as you see your Facebook filled with constant status updates about your friends’ favorite teams, your Instagram feeds drowning in cute pictures of kids in gameday attire, or you drive by your neighbors house now proudly flying the flags of their team, remember this too shall pass. But for now let us have our time to rejoice that football is back!
And to those of you who aren’t football fans, I’m sorry for our craziness, but please come over for a game.We promise to fill you up each weekend with drinks and food a plenty and some of our football obsession might just rub off on you ;)
“Clear eyes full hearts can’t lose.”
Check out the article on https://midland.citymomsblog.com/events/football-religious-experience/!