I am ashamed to admit it.
But before I moved to Litchfield, never had I ever been to a high school football game.
Growing up, I went to at least one Northwestern University football game and maybe a Bears game. In college, I went to about half of the homecoming game twice, which adds up to a whole game. (Pro Tip: Carleton College football is not that fun to watch. Or, I’m told, to play.)
But in high school, I never went to a football game. Not one. I did plenty of other fun, normal high school things: I ate pizza, watched movies, drove aimlessly around my suburban town, went to cool coffee houses in the cooler suburb next door, made posters in Latin to carry with the Latin Club in the Homecoming Parade. (Did I mention that we also wore togas? Yeah, totally normal and not dorky at all.)
So, when the local pastors’ group (or, in Fancy Terms, Ministerial Association) hosted a Fifth Quarter (open gym, pizza and other concessions) after the football game last fall, I was a little nervous. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Luckily, I happened to have a fleece blanket in the car (pro tip: metal bleachers are cold), so I did not freeze my novice tush off. Also luckily, I found some church friends to sit with, so I did not feel like too big of a dork.
And guess what? It was totally fun! People of all ages were there–kids throwing footballs around behind the bleachers, adults sitting and chatting in the stands, teenage girls zooming back and forth with their boyfriends’ jerseys over their sweatshirts. There were snacks, and there was cheering, and all of a sudden a full moon rose over the cornfield on the other side of the football field (not a sight I would have seen had I ever attended a football game at my own high school). And the ACGC Falcons beat the Whoever They Were Playing! It was great!
Now, I admit: since that first glorious game, I have only gone once more (to the game before this year’s Fifth Quarter, in fact). The second time around, it was still fun–cheering, snacks, friends, moon–but it was colder, windier, and the Bulldogs beat the Falcons. That’s the way the . . . football bounces.
One more admission: I am still working on my sports metaphors, analogies, and sermon illustrations.