Rivalry Football and Looking Forward to Thanksgiving…

SNew-turkeyso y’all know that I love Football, right?  SERIOUSLY love football.  I won the chance to kick a field goal at halftime at an NFL football game, and was one of the only women willing to do it.  When they called me, they were hesitant…did I want to do it?  Attempt a field goal ON the field?

I had three words for them:  I’m SO THERE.  (I didn’t win the car, but I got some great Carolina Panther gear and had a BLAST! And I made it from 25 yards, just couldn’t make it from 35)

That was a Carolina Panthers game a few years ago.  Last time they were playing so well, in fact.  Grins.  Did you know they were STILL UNDEFEATED???  Yep.  Shouting.  I know.  I’ll try to tone it down, buy I’m passionate about my football.

Now, that’s pro ball.  NFL.  The Big Show.

But I have to confess that local, high school football is among the best entertainment around.  My Eldest goes to a Catholic High School in Washington, DC.  Now, we’re not Catholic and he was recruited to go there for baseball, not football.  That notwithstanding, it’s fall and football season, so of course, being a teenager, he usually wants to hang out with his pals at the football games.635787711457884668-rain

Tonight (Saturday) was the enormous Rivalry Game between St. Johns College High School (SJC) and Gonzaga College High School.  Both were aiming for the WCAC championship game.  We (SJC) had a chance to get there, but we had to beat…you guessed it…arch-rivals, Gonzaga.

I must say that field conditions were NOT great today.  It rained yesterday.  It rained this morning.  It rained as I drove over to Paint Branch High School and their lovely new turf-field stadium in Maryland.  It wasn’t quite as bad as that picture to the left, from Yahoo Images, but first thing Saturday morning it would have been that way.

StadiumStJohnsI was helping to set up the School Store.  You see, this rivalry game draws so many people, from 100+ years of tradition in sports, that alumni from all over the country on both sides of the game, young and old, come to THIS game.  This rivalry game.  So both schools bring their “store” to the game.  They have sweatshirts, t-shirts, blankets (much beloved this cold November day!), jackets, hats, you name it.

This year’s game was particularly well attended.  Why? Well, last night was the Cadet Corps Centennial – 100 years of JROTC – and SJC is a HUGE JROTC school.  So there were a lot of alumni and donors and supporters in town anyway.  That meant an even BIGGER crowd for the big game.  This game is so big that we play in neutral territory – Maryland – at a field that can actually hold all of our parents, students and guests because neither of OUR schools have big enough stadiums.

Now, we have a sizable field as you can see by that pic on the left.  And it too, is turf.  BUT, parking is a nightmare because the school’s got a construction project going.  There’s also that little problem of not stjohns-copyhaving opposing team bleachers.  That’s usually not a problem unless it’s THIS game.  The Rivalry Game.  These two sides definitely need to be separated. There are so many stories of the pranks…omgosh.  I heard some tonight.  Evidently, one year, many years ago, thankfully, the Gonzaga pranksters bought hundreds of white mice, painted them purple, and turned them loose in the SJC Cafeteria.  Major health code violation, not to mention a hell of a problem catching that many whit…Purple mice.  Yikes!  Also, evidently one unnamed team – neither one of ours, according to the tale teller – painted their bright, bright logo on the opposing team’s brand new turf field.  On a regular field, no big deal because the grass grows out.  A turf field doesn’t.  That cost the school many thousands of dollars for a patch.  OUCH!  Not such an innocent prank!

This year, the prank by the SJC’ers was pretty innocuous, but darn funny, if you ask me.  Some wiseacre managed to steal the Gonzaga team flag.  You know, the one that someone runs on the field with prior to the players taking the field?  So, at the beginning of the game as the players from Gonzaga came on, sans flag, the chant went up from the SJC students: “WHERE’S YOUR FLAG?  WHERE’S YOUR FLAG?”  There was much milling about and dismay on the Gonzaga side (sorry, folks, but there was!)  Then from somewhere…who knows where?…the flag American-football-on-grassappeared on the SJC side of the field and was waved about to much laughter.

Security retrieved it and returned it, but it was fun.

(Yes, that IS a horse riding on with the SJC Team.  They are the Cadets.  Like I said, LONG JROTC tradition, and the Cadet on the horse leads the way…but not today.  Too wet, expensive turf field…yeah.  No horse)

I didn’t go to a school where there was this kind of tradition, either for high school or college.  Where I went to college, football was popular, but there were no big rivalries, no deep abiding passions for or against anyone we played.  I recognize now, going to these kind of games, just what I missed.  There was a lot of good-natured ribbing on both sides, and, as I said, some mild pranks, but mostly it was good fun and major giggles were had by all.  They even do something called the Fifth Quarter – an after party for parents and students of both schools – after the game.  Thanksgiving-Day-Football

Eldest and I didn’t go to this party last year, but we did this year.  At first, I felt a bit like the dorky-tag-a-long parent with the popular kid.  I didn’t know anyone, and even as an extrovert, I was feeling a bit lost.

Then, in a saving grace moment, I saw someone from my other “Tribe” of people.  A woman in an SJC sweatshirt had her enormous Labrador with her.  Yay!  Someone to talk to.  If it involves football or a dog, I can talk to anyone if I can just find a place to start.  So, I struck up a conversation with her about the dog.  Turns out Mr. Enormous Dog is a Lab/German Shepherd cross.  He must have weighed in at 135 lbs, at least.  He was my ice breaker.  Grins.  From that, I met other people, talked, laughed and enjoyed a nice post-game party.  Oh, and it turns out that Ms. Labrador Owner’s daughter and my son, both sophomores, know one another.  Hmmmm.  Small world. (Actually, small school…)

thNow, on to the next game.  I get to look forward to Thanksgiving and even MORE football.  I will be up early cooking, with my wonderful new flat screen TV in the kitchen.  I made the DH buy it so I could watch football (and, yes, baseball) while I cook.   I’m SO looking forward to it.  I think there are great college rivalries to be had that day, and now, I know a little bit about how fun and exciting those games are.  Even if there aren’t rivalry games, there will definitely be great football, great food and great fellowship.  What more could a gal want?

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?  I know football is beloved to some of you!  But if not football, what’s your sport?CapitolDangerfinalrevised

Does your high school, or college/university have a rivalry like this?  Ever go to the big rivalry games?

I know that rugby and cricket are more popular in other parts of the world, are there rivalries there?  Who’s team do you root for?  

(Did anyone else see the All Blacks win the 2015 Rugby World Championship?  OMGosh what a great game!!)

If you’re in the US, are you looking forward to Thanksgiving for the food, the football, or both?

Do you have a “Tribe”?  Baseball fans, football fans, dog-lovers, readers, writers – those are my main tribes.  What’s yours?

I hope that November’s a great month for you all!  I’m planning to get another book in before the end of the year.  DEADLY DELIVERY, my Thanksgiving story is available now too.  But in the meantime, look for a special price on CAPITOL DANGER starting tomorrow!!

(Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Yahoo Free Images, and the author.  No copyright infringement intended and any image will be taken down upon request)

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  • Fedora says:

    WHOA, Jeanne! You’re amazing! You got to kick a field goal??! WOOOT!! (Do you have photos of your moment?!)

    As for me, I admit to being a bit of a fair weather fan… we mostly root for the home team (the Niners), but I’m not a football fanatic, so I’ll watch if DH has the game on, but probably won’t turn the TV on if it isn’t…

    Thanksgiving is ALL about the food and family! There’s some football in there, but for me personally, it’s secondary 😉

    My tribes? Probably readers, moms, and soccer/runner/dance moms in particular 😉

    Yay on the book news! Looking forward to more from you, Jeanne!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Fedora! I do have some pictures of the moment, but they were prints rather than in my digital files, so I didn’t post it. Grins. It was a fun day.

      I love your Tribes! So fun!

  • Jeanne, why did I never know this about you and the field goal? What a cool story! And with my area team, even!

    I enjoy football, as with most sports, when I’m rooting for one of the teams playing.

    My high school didn’t gave a particular rivalry, nor did my college when I was there. In law school, I attended the UNC-Duke game, a big rivalry, one year.

    I enjoy the food on Thanksgiving, and the fellowship.

    My tribe is geekdom, the people who attend SFF and comics conventions.

    Fun post, Jeanne!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Nancy! Heehee. I guess the field goal never came up before. And yes, right there in Charlotte at the then-new stadium. :>

      Ah, Geekdom! One of my Tribes as well.

      And yep, food and fellowship – that’s the Thanksgiving ticket!

  • Cassondra says:

    Okay, whoa.

    You kicked a field goal on a real field?

    I must have more information. Were you coached? Did you have a uniform? Shoes with cleats? That field-goal kicking thing is its own special little dance, best I can tell. I mean, they bring on their guy who doesn’t really do anything but THAT, yaknow? How did you know what to do?

    So the football thing…I’ve struggled with getting into it, and still struggle with the rules. I’ve understood them, then lost that, then tried to understand again, then lost that. And then they change little things and I’m REALLY lost because my favorite word in the world is “why” and most fans don’t actually know the reason WHY that flag was thrown.

    That said, I’ve found out that when WKU plays (as they did yesterday) I’m just all up in that.

    When I went there, our football team really didn’t beat anybody. But then we got a university president who decided that the real reason to have a university is for the sports, not for academics (okay rant off) and he spent ton o bucks on the football, built new stadium additions and shoehorned us into a bigger conference where we would play against teams we could NOT beat–at least at first Now our team is doing well. Number 2 in the conference for the season so far I think. We played #4 in the conference yesterday and won.

    I was all mad at the refs and everything. Just like a real fan. It was our homecoming.

    When I went to WKU, they worked kind of hard to find a team we could win against for homecoming. Now that the tv cameras are there and this is about business, not just school spirit, apparently that’s a little more difficult to pull off and we play who we play and the outcome is the outcome, homecoming or no.

    Anyway…I now want a WKU football jersey. Never had a football jersey before.

    I have a strong competitive streak that doesn’t appear very often because it’s hard to get that streak really interested enough to come out and expend energy. But apparently the alma mater on the field pushes the right buttons. *grin*

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      WOOHOO!! Turnin’ my Evil Twin into a Football fan! WOOT! Grins.

      I did get a former high school place kicker to coach me when I had the chance to kick the ball. I didn’t get cleats or anything. Didn’t seem worth the trouble. But it sure was fun to go on the real field and kick a real ball. The only other woman to do it just squibbed it down the field on her game. She just wanted the free gear. Grins. I was competitive and wanted the car. I managed it against the guys until the last round, where they could make it form the 35 – a 45 total yard field goal – and I just didn’t quite have the leg strength for that. :> Those two guys went on the field during the final game and booted it out until one won the car. Pretty fun.

      You need a WKU jersey, for sure. :>

  • Jane says:

    Hello Jeanne,
    Not a high school or college football fan, but I am a NY Giants fan, so I do catch some games on TV. I’ll even watch some games just to root against the Patriots, Broncos and Cowboys. I’m a big hockey and baseball fan. I enjoy watching NBA games, too.

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Jeanne, you kicked a field goal? At BOA Stadium? How did I not know this???

    I’m watching the Panthers play as I type this. They came out of the gate like gangbusters but Green Bay is starting to find their rhythm. Our defense needs to shut them down! Luuuuuuuuuuuke!

    As you know, I’m a huge football fan and have been since I was a young sprout. My high school team has had a great season but it came to an end in the regionals Friday night. They scored and went for the two-point conversion to win with only 34 second left. They didn’t make it and lost the game by one point. Tough end to a fantastic season.

    All of my college teams lost yesterday so not a happy day in my abode. I’ve been to many college rivalry games. They’re fun! My dad and I went to rival colleges (Michigan and Michigan State) so football season was always fun in our family. I think I miss him most of all in the fall when I want to pick up the phone and talk football.

    I’m not an avid baseball fan but I’ve cheered for the Cubs since I was a kid. One of these years….

    I love hockey! I grew up watching on TV and my college boyfriend (a hockey player) cemented the deal. We have a hockey team here in Charlotte. I need to get to more games. 🙂

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      PJ, I knew you’d be responding to this post! Grins. And yes, the Panthers need to #KeepPouding

      Bummer on the loss of the school team. That was our rivalry game – won it in the last 30.5 seconds of the game.

      Yesterday WAS a let down. The only team for which I root who won was the Crimson Tide. I had to sigh about you missing your dad.

      Let’s go Cubbies!! As Cassondra says…just sayin’

      Hockey! Didn’t watch Hockey till I got here to DC. The Hurricanes didn’t come to NC until I moved to DC and enjoyed watching the Caps.

  • EC Spurlock says:

    You got to kick an actual field goal on an actual field? How cool is that! Wish you had posted the photo!

    High school football is so much fun, the kids take it so seriously, especially here in the south. My high school had a serious rivalry with the town next door, who usually did better in the standings and were reputed to be very dirty players. I remember listening to their games on the radio but I don’t recall actually going to more than one or two. I don’t recall my sons’ high school having a serious rivalry but they were usually in the running for state championship, so we would cheer them on for that.

    My college didn’t have a football team; they had just admitted men for the first time the year before I got there, and there weren’t enough of them. We had things like a polo team, an equestrian team, lacrosse and field hockey. However both our basketball teams were quite good, and more recently they’ve started a men’s hockey team that is cleaning up their division.

    Hubby was never a big football fan but he would never miss a Michigan game (especially against Notre Dame). However he did teach me to appreciate hockey, and we are big fans of our local minor-league team (who just got named as the official Farm Team for the Bruins) and still die hard Red Wings fans.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey EC! I’ll try to scan in the picture of me on the field about to kick the ball. :>

      Oh, and the Michigan vs Notre Dame game is supposed to be like the Alabama vs. Auburn game – highly anticipated! Grins.

      You and Anna S and your Hockey. Grins. I really didn’t know much about Hockey till I moved up here to DC. Now I really like to watch the Washington Capitals hockey team. Lots of fun.