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In the Spirit of the Game

    I've always hated football. But for some reason I love going to my high school's games. It's taken me a while, but I think I finally figured out why. It occurred to me while standing in line for food at the home coming game of my junior year of high school. I was waiting in line with some money I borrowed from a friend mauling over what candy I should buy to keep myself awake while pretending to care about what was happening on the field. 

    Then a thought occurred to me: "what am I doing here?" I didn't mean in the line for food, I meant at this game. Like I said, I hate football. What on earth possessed me to come out in the freezing cold while the sky threatened of rain to sit on hard metal benches and make small talk about a game I have no knowledge of nor any want for knowledge of? 

     Maybe it was the food. After all, the food line was awfully long. But No. It wasn't the food, certainly not the food. Why would anyone ask for the chance to buy overly priced, stale as all hell nacho chips paired with the molten yellow lava that passes as cheese? And I'm sure I'm not the only one that is slightly creeped out by the oddly watery ice cream. Or weirded out by the 1/2 frozen and1/2 burnt BBQ. And no way anyone actually wants the colorful power drinks that are all hype (although i did buy one anyway because I was thirsty and they taste better than watered down sodas). So if it wasn't the food, what else could it be?

     I thought about this as I headed back to my seat, the $3.50 left over of my friend's money jingling in my pants pocket. Suddenly the bleachers above my head began to shake with the power of the pumped up crowd; I must have missed our first touchdown. I wasn't feeling too bad about it until I got up the steps and onto the bleachers.  In that moment I saw the crowd, the entire home team crowd on their feet, standing on the seats of the bleachers celebrating the first of what was sure to be many touchdowns, judging by our record. And that's when it hit me. It has nothing to do with the game. It's the pure spirit, not the love for the game, that drives us all here in the cold, and occasional rain (or very rarely, snow) to watch our home team send the visiting team home crying. The spirit and love for the players, the team, the school, and the Sherwood high school community as a whole. That's why everyone loves high school football, it's the only reason I go to the games.

    One key example, I noticed that night, is the cheerleaders and their dancing equals: the Sherwood Warrior (that's our school mascot) POMs. I noticed that, during the POMs half-time performance, the majority of the chatter that surrounded me was people bashing them. I realized that no one likes the POMs, what with their slutty outfits and supposedly "sexy" dancing. And i became quite certain as the game went on, that the same applied to the cheerleaders, what with their excess of pep. And even still, we cheer anyway. And it 's because of what I've been talking about: spirit. The two teams collectively are the living embodiment of it. Both positions are more than a club. its the way they are, who they are. And they are spirit. now and forever. warrior pride.

   And Sitting with the pep band is the one of the best places to see it. there are some who, like my best freind, dont like to play their instruments, but take advantage of the free acess to football games. and they, in my opinion, have just as much spirit as the teenage boy refusing to sit down so he can watch his friend play.

   And it's easy to see it when you sit in the crowd, watching all the people surrounding you wrapped up in the spirit of the game. Laughing and talking with friends and all the while making sure to catch every key moment of the game so as to know exactly what you'll celebrating afterwards.  

    And it was made clearer to me when I heard a small sound, lost in the infinite noise of the crowd, the sound of the lonesome trumpet.  The lone trumpet player who takes pride in blowing out the infamous notes "dodododo DO DO". The response expected to be "CHARGE!". but there is no response to the trumpet. because no one pays attention to it. because theyre rapped up in other routines. 

     And it's all the rediculous traditions. waving your right arm in the air, elbow bent, yelling "BUUUULL s*** BUUUULL S***" when a call is made that is beneficial to the visiting team. holding your hand in what looks like an o with your fore finger and thumb but is meant to be a w for "warriors" when we kick for a feild goal or kick off. They are the truest examples of spirit I can think of. 

    And there's one thing that makes all of the traditions possible. And it's called the students section. It's what makes me laugh when people call that section of the bleachers "seats"; The students that sit there NEVER sit down. We all stand on the bleacher benches until our legs are about to fall off, and then it's half time. When half-time arrives, none of us are cheering for the POMs performance that's about to ensue, we cheer because we finally have our excuse to sit down again. And then when half-time ends, the t-shirt cannon is fired and we all stand up again. And we stay that way. We do have the knowledge that if we all sit we can see better, and be more comfortable. but we don't sit down. because it would be a disgrace of the school. a lack of spirit. A lack of warrior pride. And the spirit is why I keep coming back, year, after year, after year. It's why I always stand up: it's all in the spirit of the game.  




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