Fall is my favorite time of year, with the waning of hot weather, the crisp mornings and four-plus months of football to look forward to. Not only do sports bring families closer together in many ways, but they also provide at least a few hours of weekly diversion from the pressing issues of life.
With the recent presidential election, which seemed to get nastier and uglier with each debate, I found myself turning more and more to sports for a respite.
This fall, I was lucky enough to be part of a group that attended the Texas A&M-University of Arkansas football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. What hit me was the tradition that football played among the growers and consultants and their spouses who were in our suite.
Even though some of their kids had graduated college, they, their spouses and even the rest of the family still tried to attend at least a few football games every year. For a few hours, they could escape their town, get caught up in the excitement of a game, share their love of football with family members, and forget about low rice prices or flood-damaged crops.
And they didn’t just watch the games. They immersed themselves in the teams and knew the players, who was hot and who was not.
Don’t get me wrong — football isn’t always the great socializer. I’ve met people over the years who are so passionate about their teams that they seriously take offense if you talk negatively about them. But most people with whom I’ve discussed football agree to disagree about the teams.
Fine print disclaimer: I didn’t go to a powerhouse football school. I attended Colorado State University, which has moved up to the Mountain West Conference from the Western Athletic Conference and even earlier, the Skyline Conference.
CSU athletic leaders think it’s a big deal when their .500 team makes it to one of the 40-plus second-tier post-season bowls. CSU’s student body, fans and alum, who typically don’t even fill half of 32,000-seat hometown Hughes Stadium, aren’t nearly as rabid as their counterparts at a Southeastern Conference game.
Since working in the Mid-South and having a brother who attended an SEC school, I’ve adopted a new team. I won’t mention the name here because the last time I did on social media, an acquaintance jokingly threatened to unfollow me on Twitter. That’s part of the fun — just some old-fashioned
friendly football rivalry.
Whether you chant “Woooo! Pig Sooie,” are part of the 12th Man, recently mourned the loss of Mike the Tiger or cheer on another team, enjoy your football “family” and the camaraderie it brings this season.