Editor’s Note: Carole Townsend, a correspondent for the Daily Post, is writing a blog called “Food for Thought.” It is available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com.
The temperatures are dipping tantalizingly low in the evenings, and a crisp breeze is freshening up summer’s stagnant, over-heated air. Now Monday nights, Friday nights, all day Saturday and Sunday and even some Thursday nights are punctuated by the delightful sights and sounds of football. Goofy “I’m-your-best-pal” commentators, bruising close-ups of brain-jostling impacts, clever beer commercials and proportionately impossible cheerleaders invade our homes and are welcomed by ravenous fans with open arms. It’s football season, and I love it.
I will say that I hope it improves this year, because this past weekend was a sad one in our household. My husband and son are rabid, diehard Dawg fans. The hype was electric this past week; surely the Bulldogs wouldn’t come out of the gate losing two in a row. Absurd! The two of them traded jabs all week with my father and brother, who are both devout Georgia Tech fans. My son’s truck was decked out in so much UGA paraphernalia that it looked like the lead car in a travelling circus. But then came the devastating loss to South Carolina. The shock. The shame.
I could never be a guy, as I couldn’t talk all that football smack just to have to swallow my pride when my team loses. I’d rather just keep my mouth shut and not have to eat crow when the fourth quarter is over. I was worried about my guys there for a while on Saturday. I thought my husband and son — both grown men — were going to break down and cry when the Dawgs lost. They sadly retreated to their respective man caves, removed their sacred red and black jerseys, and in silence removed all the magnets, flags, lights and windsocks from my son’s truck. The intoxicating scent of chicken wings and nachos still hung in the air. Taps played glumly in the background.
Then Sunday rolled around, and faith bloomed anew. The Falcons, already “Superbowl contenders” to some commentators, were across-the-board favorites to beat the Bears. We all know how that one turned out. Again, stunned silence. I thought about calling our dear friend (also a Bulldog fan), a terrific family counselor who has steered many clans through some tricky waters over the years. I thought my husband might need a little perspective or at the very least, an anti-anxiety potion. But then the Jets-Cowboys game came on, and the sorrow and defeat were on the back burner for a while. You see, Fantasy Football kicks in when their favorite teams aren’t playing.
I love football, but I love it for different reasons. I especially love college ball, as everybody seems to have a really good time no matter who’s playing. In my family, we have graduates from UGA, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Vandy and Clemson. There are brief periods during football season when some of us are inevitably feuding, but that’s OK. It’s all in good alumni fun, and no one has ever hurt anyone badly enough to require first aid.
I love the way football games sound. I love marching bands and tailgating. I love that football hails the arrival of Fall and carries us right through the holidays, then lights up cold, dark February with the ultimate championship-game-slash-advertising-fest. I love football food — chili, wings, you know… the pungent stuff that’s bad for you.
I made the mistake one year, when both the Bulldogs and the Falcons had particularly dismal showings all season long, of suggesting to my husband and son that they just pick different teams, ones that win a lot. You would have thought I had suggested they shoot each other. I get it now; you root for your team no matter how strong or weak a season they might be having. You yell, clap, throw things, laugh, cry (privately, of course) all because of your team, all season long.
I still think my suggestion makes more sense. Who needs all that drama?
Is your house a football house? What’s your favorite thing about the season?