Let’s talk football. The quintessential university sport. The gathering that unifies the college population and creates friendly animosity between schools. The endeavor the athletic department invests so much in.
Last Saturday, Stanford opened the anticipated season on a good note, beating San Jose State 34-13. With Stanford ranking in the top five of pretty much all the university football pre-season rankings this year, it’s definitely an exciting season to come. This is the first year Stanford sold out of season tickets. I can attest that even though school hasn’t even started yet, the crowd at Saturday’s game was larger than most games of the past year.
I went to every home game and most away football games this year. I love the energy of football games, especially the excitement of night games. I love the ups and down, those times when I’m not sure if we’ll win or lose. I love how much higher a high feels when it is unexpected (USC last year). I love high-fiving random people after a touchdown, sitting with crazy friends who paint themselves red, and partaking in university crowd traditions.
However, I wonder how many students don’t go to the football games, how many students have never been to a football game. Maybe they don’t want to give into the hype to watch huge guys tackle each other. But I guess I see football as a college tradition that people should experience at least once just as they should seize an opportunity or take a class that has nothing to do with their major. Not everyone will like it, of course, but I think it’s less about the game as embracing your university, your culture, your peers. There’s a reason Gerhard Casper was overshadowed by Bill Walsh. Football gives us something to be proud of, to excite over, to momentarily forget about all the work we have to do, and to just belong. Belong to our school. I, like many people, do not always understand what is going on in the game, but I will still rejoice in the celebratory “5-6-7-8-WHOO!”
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m really excited for the upcoming football season. Not only because we’re supposed to have a really good team but also because it will be that time again for fun, excitement, and bonding. And I hope everyone at least tries it.