Sunday, September 26, 2010


Let me preface this by saying that I love football. When I first became a cheerleader many moons ago, I realized that I would have to learn a little bit about the sport. I mean, I couldn't very well stand on the track and yell, "FIRST. AND TEN. FIRST DOWN. DO IT AGAIN!" when I had no idea about the concept of the down system. That just wouldn't do. Therefore, to learn about the sport, I would sit down with my dad on Saturdays and Sundays and have him explain the game to me. I know how the game works and I know a lot of the rules. Trust me, if I didn't like it, I never would have attempted to learn more about it. That's just how I roll.

I know almost as much as Molly from Wildcats. (Football.)

To add to my football love, I dated football players as a younger girl. (I know, my entire high school life was a living cliche. In my defense, I was one of the nerdy cheerleaders who took almost entirely Advanced Placement courses.) In high school, my autumn Friday nights were always spent on the track, cheering on my team (and sometimes my boyfriend). In college, I continued to date a football player, so my Saturdays involved traveling around various Midwestern states to cheer for his team. Of course, we were both attending tiny little liberal arts colleges with smaller stadia than those of our high school years. I was generally with the parents, so there was not heavy tailgating involved. There were no massive crowds in one color singing an alma mater after the game or singing fight songs at each touchdown. (I mean, they DID play "Welcome to the Jungle" at the opening kickoff. That counts for something, right?) My college didn't even have a football team. This means on Saturdays in the fall, I don't really have a team to support. Of course, I have been known to glom onto whichever team the guy I am dating supports. (This makes for a fun activity post break-up. You know, the inevitable donation of that school's girl-sized jersey to the Salvation Army.)

So when the entire city of Chicago decides to jersey up, don their alma mater's colors, and drink beer during the day out of colossal plastic mugs, I don't really have any place to go. Of course, my friends like to try to adopt me for their team. "Heyyyy, F.A., since you don't have a team, why don't you come support OUR team." Sometimes I go along with it. A small part of me wonders if I missed out on a quintessential college experience by not attending a large school with a giant football team. I don't have that kind of allegiance to school whose biggest sport was men's volleyball. Seriously. I mean, I could root for Notre Dame because I love love LOVE the movie Rudy. Or I could root for Michigan for my dad. I could even root for Illinois since it is my state. Or Wisconsin because that's where my cousins went to school. So many choices. I have chosen not to choose.

I mean, I DO have a football team. I was born and raised a Chicago Bears fan (oh yes, I was one of those young tykes singing the Super Bowl Shuffle) to the dismay of my mom's family. They are all Green Bay Packers fans. My respective grandparents would have "dressing wars" with me as a baby to style me in either blue and orange or green and gold. Illinois grandparents (and my actual state of residence) won out. Chicago Bears were my team, through and through. So when falls around, I cheer "Bear Down!" with all my pals on Sundays (sometimes Mondays). And the Bears even have their OWN song. So in my mind, it's almost as good as having a college team. I know, many of my friends with their Big Ten schools might argue with me. A certain ex-boyfriend would probably tell me how stupid I am to compare the Bears-Packers rivalry to the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. To him, I would say, "GO BLUE."

Since there are no do-overs in life, I will just have to live with being a "whatever" college supporter on Saturdays and a Bears fan. Nothing wrong with that. In conclusion, I'd like to leave you with a really nice song about football. (Football.)