Fall is here and I couldn’t be happier. Fall is the perfect season. It’s cool enough to dig out all of my cute sweaters which help hide the extra baby fat I’m still working on losing. Scarves are used as cute fashion accessories I can wear on a whim rather than necessities used to wrap my face so only two tiny eye slits can be seen between my hat and my parka. Jackets are of the light variety and hoodies often suffice. And while I have to give up my sandals on most days, I can cope because I get to wear fuzzy socks to bed which make me feel extra snuggly.
Fall also brings the changing leaves and since my husband and I have the bargain that I do all the indoor work and he does all the outdoor work, I don’t even care that those beautiful leaves will clutter up our yard. I just get to sit inside or on the screened in porch and marvel at the colors. It’s that wonderful time of year when hot apple cider starts creeping on to all the coffee shop menus so I actually have three things I’m willing to drink. We make our annual trip to the orchard to get pumpkins and usually pick a peck or two of apples which I deftly make into various cobblers and pies. Plus we have our annual pumpkin carving party and even though my artistic skills are probably about equal to those of my 6 ½ month old son’s, I don’t care because we all hang out, toast pumpkin seeds, eat my cobbler and drink cider. It’s fantastic.
Fall, it turns out, also means football season, a phenomenon I have, until recently, been unfamiliar with. I am not a sports person. I don’t actively dislike most sports, although the idea of sitting down and actually watching a game on TV is akin to getting a root canal in my book. I don’t really come from a family of sports enthusiasts. My mother, who spent most of my childhood days with me, detests sports. My father actually likes sports, but I don’t really remember him ever watching them when I lived with him. Then again, I had a TV in my room, so maybe I just left the living room when they came on. My husband thankfully, is also not a sports guy. I just bought him his first Colts’ shirt last weekend and the only reason he really wanted it was so he could wear it and blend in with his co-workers when they play. He would much rather geek out with me by watching Heroes, Doctor Who or reruns of Buffy. This is just one of the things that makes him perfect for me.
Now even though we don’t want watch it at home, having gone to a high school you’d probably expect I’d be a little more aware of the start of football season, however, my high school was so small that we didn’t have a football team. Our homecoming was in December during basketball season (which I can tell you lasts late October to mid-March, at least in high schools). It wasn’t until I started teaching at my current school that I had any idea as to how important football really is.
Friday night I decided to make my obligatory appearance at a high school sporting event. Since I live 45 minutes from work, even before my son came into the picture, I didn’t spend much time at school outside actual school hours. I’ve always preferred to grade at home, so there’s no real incentive. I have a lot of football players in my classes and to shut some of them up, I decided to make it to a game. As a bonus this was homecoming weekend so I got to see some of my former students, the crowning of the court, the float parade and (and this is the real reason I chose this game) the PTO sponsored a free tailgating party for all staff members complete with burgers, Cool Ranch Doritos and delicious super fudgy brownies.
I didn’t actually get to see much of the game. One of my friends had to take tickets at the gate and since I’d already eaten and the game was still 90 minutes away, I went along to keep her company. People kept trying to hand me their tickets and they were short staffed so I donned a black apron and started tearing right along with her. Since the real reason I went to the game was free food and socializing, I didn’t really mind missing the game. Bleachers are cold and all the teachers stand around and talk anyway. It’s hard to see the kids on the field. Besides, they let us know every time we got a touchdown by exploding something in a terrifying cannon. It was a lot of fun, but as soon as the sun went down I was reminded that Fall was definitely here in force. I had on only my long sleeved staff shirt and by half time I was shivering. I didn’t even have a jacket in my car. I ran to the concession stand but was disappointed to find the “hot” chocolate barely lukewarm. I tried microwaving it, but it was so busy and I wasn’t paying for it, so I felt bad getting in the way. Standing in the stand did warm me up a bit, but not enough to make me stay for the second half of the game. Besides we were up by 23 points.
All and all it was a pretty good night. I got to hang out with friends, eat some free food and for most of the time enjoy the crisp fall evening. Plus, I got to do it all by myself, a rare treat these days. If I only have to go to one game a year and it’s just like this one, I think I could start to like this football stuff.