Tonight’s football game…

Springville 16   Woods Cross 12

It was an excellent game.  Not a lopsided win for the home team this time.

Woods Cross, a Salt Lake area high school looked bigger than my high school team.  Eventually, their strength helped them almost overcome an early deficit created by early Springville big plays for touchdowns.

But the home team played clutch defense, stopping three drives deep in Springville’s territory that included one missed Woods Cross field goal.

It was in the cool, almost chilly night air during the last quarter where hyped nerves joined to make a dramatic conclusion to an interesting experience for me.


As I approached the stadium just as the game was starting around 3 pm, I noticed that the visitor bleachers were pretty full and the near winter sun facing them was low enough in the horizon to make watching the game a little challenging.  Plus those stands were predictably fuller than last week’s game.

I decided to check out the home team bleachers which are twice the size of the visitors’.

I sat above where the band would be sitting, at least where I assumed they would be based on my own high school band experience and what I saw last week.  (Some things don’t change.)

I settled in for the first half of the first quarter until I saw someone I recognized who I really didn’t want to engage.

I don’t think she saw me even though she passed me to my left—I purposely wore a golf cap and my sunglasses for sun and identity protection–so I moved away toward the edge of the student section in the middle of the stands.

I settled in and enjoyed the game despite the constant commotion, the fluidity of the unbridled hormone population.

Of course, I was watching—in my social scientist, empirical mode—more than the athletic contest down on the grassy field.

If I were an anthropologist taking proper notes, I would have been charting the various groups, their internal relationships as they moved as individuals to establish and change relationships.

One group that interested me in particular was the “Anthony Michael Hall” group.  It was led by a smallish, red-headed, freckled geek who performed for and chatted up a blue streak with the two or three young maidens fixed on his every word, and his bigger soldiers who were clearly functioning in his intellectual and socially competent wake.

Even when he wasn’t focused on maintaining control of the group dynamic, when he had to take a breath, he would move his gaze in controlled fashion around the stands to make sure he wasn’t missing something important.

I saw the serious obese girl and her emaciated girlfriend with dark sunken eyes a few rows down, an odd couple in high school who surely suffered for any number of reasons one could unfortunately, but easily guess.

I projected myself onto a quiet red-headed boy, sitting with friends, but not sitting with them in some manner until a young women sat by him.

I smelled the exotic, lush fragrances and saw the tightened, discreet, flawless shapes of beauty and privilege competing against these average bodies of the freaks and geeks.  The straight white teeth, the dangling necklaces, the body markings and face paints that stimulate and identify those with cultural power to ignore, berate, and acknowledge.

I wondered how many of them had been aesthetically sculpted.  As a high school boy, I don’t remember so many white chicks with perky, plump asses!


As the game progressed, the stands filled more and more until the end of the game when I was hip to hip with junior high girls and little boys high fiving each other all around me.

The poor stadium announcer had to repeatedly energize and refocus the home crowd because the parents couldn’t muster the energy on their own to bolster the team on the field and the students were too busy getting ready for post-game frolicking.

For whatever anthropological reason, though, the student social dynamics in front of me had totally changed the seating pattern.  I didn’t recognize anyone sitting in front of me at the end of the game!

The stream I had entered at this game tonight was not last week’s babbling brook where I could see every nuanced rock and rift.  It was more like a spring runoff where if you get in the energy of it takes you to places you could not imagine seeing and feeling before you entered.

Last week I focused on the game and staying warm.  This week my surroundings absorbed my consciousness, but I wasn’t irritated and didn’t feel distracted. I just thought about “life” I didn’t understand when I was a high school student and how it still baffles me.

I wanted/want it, but it’s something that has always been beyond my taking at some level.  I think there are many reasons for this that I may eventually write about in this virtual private/public space.

But for now, for this game, for that moment this afternoon, I saw the passion that I sometimes miss, the love for the crowd, for the strangeness, the unpredictability, the joy and tragedy of it all.

For sure, today’s game was not last week’s game.

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