We know our football here in the South.
We know it. We love it. We’re usually born into it and if you’re not, then you married into it. We spend an entire season of the year dedicating our weekends to a game. It’s crazy to people not from here, but to us it’s normal.
This post is brought to you by our partners at Future with Football.
On Saturdays around here you can count on flags flying high with team colors waving, kids decked out head-to-toe in their parent’s alma mater, and no weddings. (Unless you married someone not from around here, then you’re begrudgingly missing kickoff for some wedding cake.)
Football has this crazy way of bringing people together.
I don’t know of any other thing, or sport, that brings 100k+ people to the same small town for the same reason. To gather. To cheer. To enjoy time with their friends and families. Football is an excellent excuse to simply gather with people you love; and where I grew up, that’s just what Saturdays were for.
I played all sorts of sports growing up. You name it, I tried it. When I was little I did it to spend time with my friends. As I got older, that reason was still there, but I found more depth to the game — any game. Sports taught me lessons I have carried throughout my life and they’re lessons I hope my kids get the chance to learn for themselves some day.
The only football I ever got to actually play was PowderPuff in high school (Go Juniors Class of 2014; if you know, you know), but that didn’t stop me. It was rare I missed a Friday night high school football game. Where I’m from, that’s just what people do. The whole town comes out to gather, hoop, holler, and yell for boys giving their all for a sport and town they love. On Friday nights, the whole town shuts down early so families can make it to kickoff. That’s the kind of place I’m proud call home.
I’d spend so much time, sometimes hours, riding the roads to get to a weekend game with family and friends. Friday nights were spent chasing the lights for my hometown, then Saturday mornings were dedicated to ESPN GameDay, Rotel dip, and not leaving the house unless it was to go to the game somewhere else.
To this day, I still turn ESPN on during the fall Saturday mornings, open the windows, and take in a little bit of nostalgia.
It’s good for me. Plus, my husband also really likes football.
So by default, when I married him, being that I didn’t go to a big D1 school that had a football team I was “committed” to, I joined orange forces with him to create our own tiny Tennessee army. (I’m the leader.) Now, our Saturdays are spent trying to hear the game on TV or attempting to make it to the game in person.
There’s nothing like coming full circle from your childhood.
Seeing the excitement of your kids cheering for a team is just something else. Loading our kids up and taking them to games is something that is hard at the moment, but we’re always glad we did it in the end. Rain or shine, we loaded up and went to Neyland (my son’s first game was at 10 months old!) for family time and the experience.
Even though I never played football, it has had a profound impact on my life. I mean, my goodness, we’re going next month to pick up our Blue Tick Coonhound puppy for crying out loud.
Football is more than just a game.
I’ve seen firsthand the impact football has on the lives of the kids that play it. I’ve seen the push, tenacity, and drive it fosters. I’ve watched lifelong friendships begin in pee-wee leagues.
I’ve seen the impact football has on families. Bringing them together on game day, whether they’re all cheering for the same team or not, creating memories, and simply spending time together.
Football matters to me and to so many people I know and love.
Football is a family matter here in the South and I’m proud to be living here in it.
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