How to Pretend You Know Football

How to Pretend You Know Football

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Remember that time when you were watching the game and shouted “Hole in one!” or said “Wait, I don’t see LeBron James down there” or asked “If it’s called football…why do they play with their hands?”

If you have a shameful memory like that, help is on the way.

Not every American is a football genius, but you don’t have to be obsessed with the game to support your team. Not many can resist the pumped up atmosphere filled with boys, girls, and booze, so why not, right? By all means go to the game and cheer your heart out.

But in order to avoid confused looks and ashamed friends/family, you have to cheer the right way. If you know nothing about football - first of all, God help you. Second of all, here’s how to not sound completely incompetent when watching the game.

“Wait…who’s playing?”

I know it’s shocking, but take look at the scoreboard! This lovely monster of a sign is there for your convenience. It will tell you which two teams are playing. It will most likely give the abbreviation of the team and their team logos next to it. If you can’t distinguish who your home team is on the scoreboard, you should seriously reconsider your life choices, but I digress.

Do yourself and your reputation a favor and never ask anyone around you who is playing; smartphones were invented for a reason, use them. You can type in the abbreviation and you’ll find your answer within seconds. Also, common sense is key. GB does not stand for gigabyte, its Green Bay - just like CHI is not referring to your hair straightener, its Chicago. 

Think people, think! College team abbreviations are very straightforward, for example, IOWA is The University of Iowa, and NDAME is Notre Dame.

“Which one’s the quarterback?...What’s a quarterback?”

To put it simply, there is an offense and a defense on the field. The offense has the ball and is trying to score against the defense, who are trying to defend. The quarterback is the most important offensive player. In social media terms, he is the guy who gets most of the screen time and who’s most likely on all the food/credit card commercials, okay? The quarterback receives the ball after “hut hut hike!” and either runs with the ball or passes it to another teammate to try and score a touchdown.

Learn his name, and you can cheer him on along with everyone else. You don’t want to mistake your quarterback for another player on a different football team or, dare I say it, a different sports team. LeBron James plays basketball, people, not football.

“LET’S GO (insert team name here)!” 

The ultimate way to express your enthusiasm for your team without naming statistics or players is to cheer! Get into it! Show you care! Nobody will put you down for supporting your boys. When everyone else around you is doing a specific motion or chant in response to a play, listen/look once and imitate. You don’t even have to know what it means, save that for Google later.

You will stick out and look ridiculous if you’re the only one in your section not standing up for the kickoff or not participating in Panchero’s Burrito Lift. Your opinion on burritos is irrelevant at this point, put your hands up and lift. Participating in these chants and game rituals makes you look like a local fan who knows what’s up.

“Where’s the basket?”

My poor child, separate your sports please. There is no type of basket, box, or bucket, in football that you put the ball in. Let’s get that straight right now. Instead, there is an "end zone" where all the offensive players are trying to run to with the ball. These zones are the rectangular zones located at each end of the field where those pitchfork looking structures ("the goalposts") are. They usually are colored differently than the rest of the field and have a team name across them as well.

Once an offensive player runs into this zone with the ball, they have just scored a touchdown. This is where you yell “Touchdown!” and yell your heart out. Clap your hands, high five your neighbor, do a victory dance! Make sure it was your team that just scored though, not your opponent, that would be awkward.   

Knowing these basic facts can help you pull off a football-knowing façade any game day of the year. When it all comes down to it, as long as you love your team then you’re already on the right track to knowing football. Go, fight, win!

Aw, you just learned that? Well there ya go, keep it up.

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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It's Been A Year And I Still Miss It

The memories with my teammates and coaches are remembered everyday.

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Never thought I'd say it but here I am. I am happy to say I am proud to be where I am today but the thoughts of never playing a sport again linger in my mind. Those emotions of anticipation and excitement when it comes to playing a sport are long gone. Sad to say I will never have butterflies before running a race, floor burns all over my knees and sweat mixed with softball dirt all over me.

The little aspects that I took for granted are what I remember the most. I am who I am today because of my coaches and teammates. Each and every sport came with a support system to fall back on and friendships that would last a lifetime. My coaches and teammates taught me life long skills that I will carry with me forever. They taught me the true meaning of dedication, teamwork, perseverance and respect. Yes, I love the game but the connections and memories I have built have impacted me. Especially, the times I have created with my teammates and coaches on the bus rides, practices and game days.

Those are the moments I will never get back. I will never forget the times my volleyball teammates and I would run over to Perkins after a win. We would eat junkie, greasy food till our tummies were full but during those moments we were all owning the moment while being young and careless. Even during track season my teammates and I found time to have fun while running rigorous workouts. I will never forget the mid-dance parties during track meets to keep our mind off of the stress of performing to our best ability. Softball season always seemed to be on the road, which meant plenty of bus rides with my teammates. Those hours of traveling were the best from the never have I ever games to singing along to great hits.

I will never get the chance again to compete in front of a crowd. The cheers and the roars of the fans is such a surreal feeling. Running on the blue oval was something I will never forget. As much as I hated the queasy, uneasy feelings before running, I would go back for it one more time. Stepping foot on the blue oval meant a great athlete once took those same steps I did. The moment my teammates, coaches and I clinched the win to go to State for the first time in school history was unbelievable. It was an accomplishment for us seniors, for our coaches, for our families and fans, for our school and for the past softball players. We did something that was never done before in school history and all I can say is I'm proud to have done it with the group of girls that I did.

Getting to state and playing with the best of the best is remarkable but what seemed to be even better was getting a victory against a city rival. Everyone came out for those games from grandparents to students to alumni. Our best performances were amongst us when competing against city rivals. Particularly, through volleyball, my teammates and I seemed to be hungrier for a win whenever it was a city rival. I guess, the best moments happened when we beat a cross-town rival. You could say we got bragging rights for the year.

To all the athletes out there competing in their last game, last match or last race, relish in those last seconds because before you know it you will never pick up a ball again, race in a relay or dance after a victory.

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