That Time of Year
by Bill Glose, 12/26/00
It's that joyous time of year again that brings out the best in us all. The giving, the cheer. You know what I'm talking about. In a word...Bowl Games. Oh, sure, Christmas is good and all, and yeah, I used two words, but stick with me for a moment. No matter how Jolly Old Saint Nick is, he just doesn't match up to the good will generated by yanking on a hated opponent's facemask and smashing him to the turf. It's the giving of vicious hits and the cheers of the crowd that make this time of year special, and so, in dedication to the greatest of sports, I'm going to offer a few answers to the question, "What makes football great?"
First, there's the great traditions, such as the stingy lunchpail defense and touching the Hokie stone on the way out of the tunnel. The Skipper's boom as Tech scores and the tubas leading the crowd through the Hokie Pokie in the second half. It's splitting a gallon of whiskey among four friends to sneak into Lane Stadium, and then pretending you don't know one of them when he gets caught. And, of course, it's telling the visiting team, "Na na na na... na na na na... hey hey hey... goodbye!"
For those of us visiting alumni, watching the game gives us something to dream about after we get home. No, not rekindling the memory of playing ball ourselves, but imagining our wives/girlfriends/significant others/pets decked out in a cheerleader outfit, waving pom poms in our face and begging us to score. And for the female alumni, they get the treat of ogling the guys in their tight football pants. Of course, they also have to put up with a certain amount of bulbous guts, but after settling down with an armchair quarterback, they're probably used to that by now.
Even if we can't make it to the game though, watching on TV validates our sense of worth by allowing us to second guess every mistake made by coaches, with the certainty that we would have made the right call in their position. And on the subject of TV, just think what ads would be like if there were no football? Without them, we wouldn't have necessary phrases such as "Wassssssupppp" and "Bud...Wise...Errr." And there'd be no Bud Bowl, though that maybe wouldn't be such a bad thing. But, all the funniest ads are football related, even if the product has nothing to do with the sport - The Ref without a coin to flip on the Snickers ad being a perfect example.
Football also gives that portion of our brains that computes stats something to do. I mean face it, it's just not the same calculating what percentage we can save on the grocery bill using double coupons and our store discount card. Unless one day your grocery store stages the supermarket spree of death where you have to dash through the aisles and fight off other customers to win great prizes. But, if Kroger's response to that suggestion is any indication, I don't think we'll be seeing that any time soon.
Even if you have relatives who aren't into football (hard to imagine, but they're out there), they're also thankful at this time of year because without football, they wouldn't have anything to buy you for Xmas. Admit it, how hard would it be to shop for you if not for your extensive wardrobe of collegiate products and tailgating apparatus? And speaking of tailgating, can you imagine what your diet would be like during the Holiday season if not for football? Goodbye pig roast, hello fruitcake.
And finally, football gives justification to hate your bitter rival. Without it, we'd all have to hate Cadavaliers because of their arrogant, haughty, pompous nature...and face it, that's just not good enough.
BILL GLOSE is a Virginia Tech graduate and a former paratrooper with the 82d Airborne Division. He is currently a full-time technical writer and editor of the magazine, Virginia Adversaria.