We might be approaching one of the greatest seasons of football we have ever witnessed. No, this is not about the New Orleans Saints going to the playoffs or Tulane University making a run at a bowl game. It’s about something far simpler — we need a diversion.
In a country that sometimes feels as if it is being torn asunder via a combination of a subpar administration and hyper awareness of social media channels, we all need a break and this weekend’s kickoff of the football season can’t get here quickly enough. So, instead of a breakdown of the greatness, or lack thereof, of the teams that play football, I want to look at what makes football itself touch greatness.
It happens every season to every single fan. It doesn’t matter if your team is coming off of a Superbowl victory or a 1-10 joke of a year. When week one of the new year is here you feel it in your stomach. It’s called hope. Look at the Tulane fan base this week. Hope lives Uptown. The Greenies are quietly confident that they are going to see something better this year. A new quarterback, Jonathan Banks, has a lot to do with that and the first time he rifles a pass downfield for a touchdown you’ll likely feel a wave of hope all the way out to New Orleans East.
Reason to Believe
Hope’s brother-in-arms is Belief and Louisiana has plenty of it. It could be argued that belief is the best quality of the football season. It is something to look forward to and gets you through the week. “We’re going to win. I just know it.”
You hear it from everyone, everywhere. It’s electric.
Look to Baton Rouge. Those folks have had to deal with the greatest program of the decade in the Alabama Crimson Tide. You think the LSU Tigers fans are worried? Well, OK, maybe a little but they BELIEVE this is the year. If they can just get that quarterback situation figured out, but would it even be a real football season if LSU fans didn’t worry about having a good quarterback?
Hope and belief team up to revel in our city pride. Football is one of the shining examples of a town coming out to celebrate itself. Now, of course, New Orleans celebrates itself seemingly on a weekly basis but during football season even strange territories like Lincoln, Nebraska show up.
The most misunderstood trait of football season, it’s not just about drinking, folks. It’s about donning your colors and greeting the day in a shabby parking lot with friends and eating three hot dogs while talking smack about the Atlanta Falcons. All before 11 a.m.
We need it more than ever. Football is just taking some time to not care about all of the world’s ills. Karen has a major project this week and Bill’s kid is in trouble again. That can wait, y’all. Today is about beating the Cougars and being true to your school. Monday is a million miles away.
Sense of Community
Tailgating, walking into the Superdome, Black and Gold Fridays — all good fun and a way for us to see each other, total strangers, as family. This is who we are. Also, let’s not forget about all of the families that are out there on Friday nights watching their sons and daughters represent all of the great high schools — the community — across southern Louisiana.
Different strokes for different folks, right? Some families meet up on the lakeshore around their favorite boats and others like to meet at The Fly for a cookout. We all celebrate in different manners but football brings it home. Friend to friend, partner to partner, sometimes it goes unspoken. It’s one of us, in so many different ways, saying, “I like this.”
“I like this, too.”
Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, sisters and brothers — it’s family.
The Divine Comedy
Dante wrote, “The more a thing is perfect, the more it feels pleasure and pain.”
Yeah, that’s right. I read stuff. And that line basically sums up the entirety of football. I would also like to point out the FUN of football. Every game I’ve been to and tailgated all boils down to — laughter. Football always makes me think of laughing with my friends. Pretty cool, yeah? Also, Mark Sanchez’s Butt Fumble always makes me laugh, too.
Oh, the Drama
I’ve written about it before, Hollywood would kill to have the recipe that makes football great. There is no sport or entertainment that matches the glory that is a football game. Don’t believe me? Turn on a game you’re not even interested in. You’ll start to feel its pull. It’s honestly how the Boise State Broncos became a thing a few years back. Everyone would just watch a game they didn’t care about it…but then they did. It’s druggy.
This all boils down to tradition, and yes, traditions are still a good thing. It’s the ritual of family and friends. The marking of time and being able to say, “We were there,” or, “Yeah, I do remember that!” We cheer with one another and we compare spicy chicken wings recipes. We meet new people that become old friends. Football is all of this and it will be more than that.
Football is all of us. We are together. We are one.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Gnarly Barley “Lion Up” American Wheat Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Fountains of Wayne – “All Kinds of Time”
Around the Way
Let there be football! The first real weekend is kicking off all over Louisiana. Here in Uptown, the Tulane Green Wave will host the Grambling Tigers this Saturday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. Go to the damn game!
One of the most interesting local games is out in Thibodaux (what!) where Nicholls State hosts perennial Southland Conference powerhouse McNeese State this Thursday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. Nicholls State is looking to turn some heads this year after posting a winning record (5-4) in the Southland last year for the first time since 2005.
Keep your ears open for the relocation of the LSU versus BYU game due to the horrific flooding in Houston. This is the third season in a row where a LSU game was relocated due to hurricane activity. Do you want to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey and the flooding? Here’s a handy list of tips and places that will do a lot of good with your donations.