I went to a college football game last night. It was a free ticket, and it was between two teams I only have a vague interest in. But it was worth it.
My dad scored free tickets through his company, and the game was in our hometown. It was on major cable. My brother and I went with him.
Heavy rain washed through the area about an hour before game time, so wetness hung in the air and on the seats. It didn’t matter, we were in a stadium and there was a live sporting event to be watched. Soggy shorts be forgotten.
To put it lightly, I—like most all of us—haven’t seen a live sporting event in so long I can’t actually remember the date. The closest thing I’ve gotten was going with my wife to see our friends’ kid’s soccer game early in April. I got way too into it. We all did. The withdrawals are real.
There was a little bit of surrealism to being in the stadium. Obviously it’s a different world than it was the last time I watched a football game in person. It felt familiar, in the same way listening to a song you loved in high school does; it’s not quite the same, but it’s still pretty great.
My brother and I sat behind my dad, and it was fun to watch a game with no stakes for anyone. Football for football’s sake, if you will. There was enough room that we could talk at leisure about formations, plays, and players.
I watched the sun slip down and the evening fade into night. The stadium was the same one I played (read:sat) in for a year in high school. It had changed from those days; facelifts and renovations took away the giant hill behind one of the end zones and took away the stadium’s original baseball architecture to make way for a massive multiplex and enough accommodations for the Worldwide Leader to come in and show it off. But there was still enough familiarity to trigger some memories.
I kicked then. I joined the team because it was bad and I figured I could help. I was adequate at best, nothing more. But I still found myself admiring the special teams work almost as much as the offense.
I suppose it was the layoff, but the moderately overpriced hot dogs and drinks tasted amazing. Worth the experience, honestly.
To sit in the cool night air with my dad and my bro and just soak in the bands, the eruption of cheers, and whistles and everything else that makes the game of college football great was, if you will, hopeful.
I know things aren’t exactly the best right now, but I do believe they will get better. All we can cling to is hope. And I believe that we’re going to be getting a decent dose of it with college football coming back. Enjoy yourselves, take the necessary precautions, and go get a little bit of that hope.
One team beat the other team soundly. We stayed till the actual end, not the practical one. We filed out the stadium, hopped in the car, and headed home having enjoyed the game, but the company of each other and the experience of it all.
Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night at all.