Why Football is Essential to American Culture

Why Football is Essential to American Culture

10917
views

Let me start off by saying that, when I was growing up, my family couldn't have cared less about football. As an American household, we fought the norm (or at least my parents did) and refused to dive into the culture. This was weird because not only did my mother work directly with Paul Allen, but my father played football for over half of his life. It wasn't until I hit high school that I began to really notice that football was important to the social aspect of American culture. 

It was freshman year, and it was raining. Hard. I was standing in the metal bleachers, clad in a ridiculously colorful sweatshirt matching those of the players on the field and trying not to slowly freeze while standing around each other yelling at the opposing team. This to me, seemed to be the most ridiculous thing on the planet. 

I couldn't understand how people put so much value into a sport that they didn't even play. Why did it matter who won or lost? Why was it so important? Why did people care? 

The Mondays following every football game were always filled with recaps — either over the loud speakers at the school or from the players themselves. And the Friday's before the games were dedicated to the players as they waltzed around school donning their jerseys and khakis. It all seemed too stupid. 

It was my senior year, and I was bored. Almost off to college and  almost done with high school forever. I had nothing to focus my time on. When one of my friends offered me a position as a football manager for the high school team, I figured, why not? I have nothing else to do. 

So every day I'd go to practice and handle the water, fill the bottles, help with ice and injuries, and make sure that everyone had their gear. During games, I'd do the same. 

I began to notice that there were a lot of legacies on the team: boys whose fathers, grandfathers, and maybe even great-grandfathers had played. Sometimes the parents would come to watch their sons practice and they would get a gleam in their eyes, their faces filling with pride and joy. I began to realize that football helped bring families together; it was something so universal that sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons could all participate in it. 

When I stood on the field, amidst the startlingly bright lights and sweaty players, I would find myself looking back at the audience, trying to see what they saw. I would look back and see fervent fans rallying up the crowd, trying to get them to be so loud that the players could hear their support on the field during an important play. 

I could see them bunch their fists and crinkle their faces in worry when a player was injured; it was like they were watching a member of their family get hurt. It was then that I realized that football made everyone family to the players. The players' names and numbers made them identifiable — someone everyone knew and saw around town. It made the players part of the community family, and as such made them the apple of every parent, child, and adoring fans' eye. 

When the team won, I noticed that everyone acted like the town had achieved a great victory. Like we had all won a war. It was then that I realized that people had, in a sense, won a war; they waited their whole week, through laborious jobs and hard family struggles, to see their team triumph and stand by them when they did. The crowd had won the game just as much as the players had. 

When the team lost, it was like everyone had lost the lottery. Sometimes I saw tears from fans when the loss was particularly hard to swallow. We had lost a battle. We had lost a war. 

When we would lose, the crowd would rally around the entrance to the locker room and hug the players as they came out. It was like they were comforting sons or brothers. We were a family who had fought and lost together. 

When I moved on to college, my football family grew exponentially to include thousands upon thousands of fans. It was like the small community I had grown up in back home exploded into a teeming mass of crimson and gold. 

We fought with our team, we won with our team, we lost with our team. We were a family because of our team. We were wearing the same colors, yelling the same chants as our parents and grandparents had. Knowing we would have the chance to watch the players we had come to know and love had given us a reason to get through our week and come together as a giant, conglomerate community who supported our team with a fervor that bordered on idolatry.

When it comes to the sport of football as a national pastime, I think that the community it creates is even more impressive than those that you'd find in a high school or college town. 

You see, being a fan of a certain football team gives you a reason to get involved in something bigger than yourself. You can sport your favorite jersey, go to a bar or store, and become friends with a complete stranger because you both share a love for a certain team. 

You can talk about certain players as if they are your friends, because, they kind of are. They are people you look up to; people you watch and learn from. People who make you laugh. 

Football allows its fans to become passionate and supportive. The rules of football are — while disputable sometimes —universal. Whether you are a custodian or a CEO, an actress or a librarian, a student or an adult; the rules of football remain the same. Because of this, everyone can understand them. It allows us to engage in debate and discussion. It encourages learning and active participation in a event that everyone can see and interpret, listen and watch, appreciate and love. 

While watching a game on television, you see players on the field whose dreams have come to fruition. These are men who started out as boys, watching the television just like you, with dreams of being on that field for the world to see. They are living the American Dream and, as an audience, we get to live it vicariously through them. 

Football connects us, as a nation, under the common goal of seeing our team(s) win. We can support whoever we want for whatever reason we choose, we can debate and bicker with fellow fans or frenemies from other teams, and we can share a love of something universal, global, and magical. 

Football is essential to American culture because it makes us a family. It brings us together, it allows us to share in something greater than ourselves, it gives us a reason not to hate Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, and it gives us the opportunity to fall in love with something spectacular. 

Football is the epitome of the American Dream. 

Cover Image Credit: www.eteamz.com

Popular Right Now

To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
36008
views

It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

A Beginner's Guide to Milwaukee Sports

Part I: The Bucks

255
views

Being a college student in Milwaukee has its perks, especially for sports fans. Now, while some may have brought their hometown teams to college, others (myself included) may have warmed up to the Cream City teams without knowing much about them. If this is the case for you, then these pointers can help you start enjoying Milwaukee basketball without looking and sounding like a bandwagon fan.

Quick History

www.nba.com

Here are some facts about the Bucks that can make you feel more knowledgeable about the franchise:

- They have only won one championship (back in 1971) and have lost one NBA Finals series (1974) (Land of Basketball)

- They have only had one* MVP-caliber player in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#33) during the 1971, 1972, and 1974 seasons (Land of Basketball)

- Other Notable Players Include: Oscar Robertson (#1), Sidney Moncrief (#4), Jon McGlocklin (#14) and Ray Allen (#34) (Land of Basketball)

*Giannis Antetokounmpo may win the MVP award this year

sited: https://www.landofbasketball.com/teams/milwaukee_bucks.htm

Gear Up

https://twitter.com/bucksproshop/status/982026548705415168

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Wearing team's colors or spirit wear is a must, especially if you're going to a game. Most items like hats and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable, and these are great if you're not trying to break the bank. Buying your gear from a sporting goods store will usually be cheaper than buying them from the team store (the main one of which is located in Fiserv Forum). Most online stores like NBA.com, Fanatics, Fansedge, and sometimes even the team's online store will have sales on sports gear, so getting a good deal on team wear is always a plus!

A Word of Caution: Jerseys

All three of these players are not part of the 2018-2019 roster and #77 and #3 have been reused by current players Ersan Ilyasova (#77) and George Hill (#3)

www.nba.com

If you're willing to go the extra mile, buying a jersey can really get you into locked in and pumped for the live action. However, it should be kept in mind that official Nike NBA jerseys range from $110-$250, so they definitely are an investment. While there are other options available like the FastBreak jerseys by Fanatics, they are a simpler (still official) knockoff of the Nike jerseys. Also; beware buying sale jerseys. There are usually three reasons why jerseys are ever on sale (aside from a storewide sale): a player is injured, a player doesn't play much and is about to be traded, or a player has been traded. While there is nothing wrong with having the jersey of a player who went on to another team (like Kareem and Allen), you are not exactly going to get brownie points for wearing a Jabari Parker or a Thon Maker jersey anytime soon.

Know The Current Squad

Fiserv Forum, Home of the Milwaukee Bucks

www.nba.com

Everyone in Milwaukee has heard of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but who else is part of the supporting cast?

Starting Five for the 2018-2019 Milwaukee Bucks (Basketball Reference):

- #6 Eric Bledsoe at Point Guard

- #13 Malcolm "The President" Brogdon at Shooting Guard

- #22 Khris "Money" Middleton at Small Forward

- #34 Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo at Power Forward

- #11 Brook "Splash Mountain" Lopez at Center

Student Perk

www.nba.com

Using your university email, you can get special discount ticket offers for home games by signing up for the Bucks' Student Rush Program. Tickets usually start at $15 per ticket, and the seats available may depend on who the Bucks are playing (and how well they are doing during the season).

Get Involved and Have Fun!

Mascot Crawl GIF by NBA - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

Don't be afraid to get into it! The Bucks are an amazing team to watch and they love Bucks Nation. In addition to cheering at games, going to team events and player appearances can be great ways to make memories and even get an autograph or two!

Are You a Bucks Fan Now?🦌

media1.tenor.com

I think Giannis would agree!

Related Content

Facebook Comments