The Game I Love to Hate


I don’t know anything about football. I don’t understand football, and I don’t want to learn about football. I don’t like football. However! I go to a lot of football games because 15 plays football and I find ways to entertain myself in the midst of my bebaffling. (I made that word up. I might make up a whole new language at the next game. It’s something to do!)

15’s in there somewhere.

They all look alike once they put on a helmet. I think that’s him, in the middle! He’s number 60. But there’s also a number 80 and I’m not sure if that says 60 or 80.

It’s hard to follow the numbers on their uniforms. They keep moving around.

15 is in 10th grade and he’s some kind of defensive lineman. I only know that because he mentioned it yesterday. I’ll forget by tomorrow and have to ask him again. He’s playing on the junior varsity this year, though he also has to suit up and go to the varsity games, too. Just in case. So that’s two football games a week. I don’t go to the away games, though. I went to his middle school away games, but in high school, they travel too far, sometimes more than two hours away, and I have to be home to get Princess around to her volleyball practices and games, plus I can’t afford the gas.

Home games are enough football for me.

Junior varsity games aren’t particularly well attended. That’s the away team stands across the field. The home team stands are slightly better filled as most of the parents attend home games. Varsity games, on the other hand, are a madhouse, absolutely packed stands.

Nothing like Friday night varsity football in a small town. It’s a social event, a dating event, a news event, a political event, and a sporting event combined. (Roane County Raiders, varsity, lost last night, by the way. Exciting game. Controversial refereeing calls. Nearly a riot in the stands. Those refs are lucky they got out alive!!)

But JV…. It’s a parenting event.

If only I could find my boy…… Oh, wait, there he is! On the far left–number 60–pushing somebody. That’s not very nice. I hope they don’t push him back.

All right! He’s coming off the field. I can find him when he’s on the sidelines.

He looks so tired. “Are you okay, sweetie?” He loves it when I talk to him at the game.

He’s always quick to take his helmet off.

Look at that face! I wonder if he has a cramp. “I told you that you should eat your bananas!”

“Do you want me to run to the store and get you a banana right now?”

I think he’s ignoring me.

Princess keeps herself entertained by singlehandedly supporting the concessions stand. She paces herself by eating constantly.

I wonder what the cheerleaders are talking about. I think they don’t understand the game, either. I think they’re talking about the boys. Or their hair.

And there he goes again.

I wonder what the chickens are doing?

Luckily, JV games only play 10-minute quarters. I need to get home to my chickens.

They won! 14 to 12. I just realized that about two minutes before the game was over. I’d forgotten to look at the score the whole time. I was too busy counting down the minutes in the quarters.

The high school football stadium is actually in a very pretty spot.

The coaches always hold a little meeting on the field when the game’s over. I know what they’re saying: “Men, you worked hard. You did a great job. Now it’s time to talk about our feelings……”

Okay, maybe not.

15 actually wanted to quit football a couple of weeks before school started. All his friends from middle school and 8th grade football carried over and played on the 9th grade team at the high school last year. This year, they all quit. 15 found himself on the JV team alone, without his best and oldest friends. He said, “I want to quit football.” I said, “No.” He said, “What do you mean, no?” I said, “You don’t quit something you love just because your friends quit.” He was mad at me when I took him to practice the next day. When I picked him up, I said, “Did you have fun today?” He said, “I hate you.” And he said I hate you in that tone and with that look on his face that really meant, I love you. Because you didn’t let me quit. Because I had a good time today. Because I love football. And he’s gone to practice enthusiastically every day since.

I don’t love football at all, and it was a split second’s temptation to let him quit that day a few weeks ago. Oh how much easier my life would be! Football isn’t a game, it’s a commitment that is almost year-round. And every time I’m waiting at nearly midnight in the high school parking lot for the bus to get back from an away game, I’ll be thinking how I could have been home in bed.

But I won’t be sorry.

If you live around here, see you at the game! I’ll be the one saying, “What just happened?!” sitting next to the girl with two Mountain Dews, three nachos platters, and six candy bars.


  1. Carolyn A. says:

    I don’t like football either, but that was a very interesting post. Kept my attention right to the end. Nice shots of the team and the play-by-play. I think you like it more than you admit to, right? Is Princess contemplating cheerleading or linebacking? I just think she’s so sweet. xxoo

  2. Debbie in Memphis says:

    I used to live in a small town and football was almost a religion. Actually anywhere in TN, it’s pretty much a religion ๐Ÿ˜‰ We used to have away games in Bluefield, WV. A long drive and it was always colder than kraut. Hope you’re having a great weekend!!

  3. Patty says:

    Yep I’m in TN and it is indeed a religion. I’ve got all girls and none of them ever did any sports. That practically makes us outcasts in this town. My 16 yr old daughter loves going to the games, not for the game, but to socialize and for the dances afterwards. People actually get season passes to home games around here. My husband isn’t a sports type of guy, so we never do go to any. I feel like I’m missing out.
    You know, 15 looks like a young Matt Damon in that daily photo. I’ll bet he’s a heart breaker. Princess always cracks me up. Thanks for the smiles this morning!!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Football – it’s a way of life… My high school was so small (52 kids in my class) the boys had to go to our sister school to play. I didn’t enjoy football then. I love football now though. GO STEELERS!!! I’m just starting to get into college football. It takes a while & I still don’t fully understand it all.

  5. Kathleen in Michigan says:

    I agree with you. I hate football. My DH is a big fan. I entertain myself when the game is on by asking inane questions or making ridiculous comments. Drives my husband nuts.
    Example: If this is a sport for tough guys, why are they always cuddling (huddles)?

  6. wkf says:

    I am College football Fan. My husband is more of a professional football fan. College football is a religion in SC as well. I think it is a little strange to see high school highlights on ESPN. But whatever, it gives fanatics something to look forward to.


  7. Maureen says:

    I had to laugh at your point of view on football, something men take so seriously.

  8. Pamela-ATL. says:

    I like the tight pants.

  9. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Yes, he goes in on offense sometimes and I have no idea what the position is called he plays then. His regular position is defensive lineman and that’s what he plays the most (and that’s what he would tell you he was if you asked him). There are only 44 kids, from 9th to 12th, on the entire football team, so he has to be able to play an offensive position, too. There is no separate 9th grade team this year (because they didn’t have enough kids) but there are still only about 20 kids on the JV team.

  10. wammy says:

    We too spent may hours in the parking lot waiting for the bus. Many loads of stinky laundry. Soothing sore muscles…I didn’t understand it much…you would think in 6 years of JV and Vasrity you’d learn something. All I know is that our son caught the ball and ran for touchdowns. That was exciting. We had a Football Moms Club…not for me. I miss Friday nights under the lights. Let 15 know that I think he is a better man than all those quitters. He”s a good boy…committed…determined….and full of character. The coaches will appreciate his work I am sure.

  11. Fannie M Wiggins says:

    In our small town, football is not a game, it’s a religion. ๐Ÿ˜† When my kids were in school, we attended all the home games. Rusty didn,t play football, he was in the band. The band is at every game. Then Maggie went into band so there I was again. We sat through games whwn we had to stand up and shake the snow off our blankets every few minutes. I wanted to stay home ’cause I don’t like or understand the game, but DH said if the kids had to be there, so did we. I too spent a lot of time at the concession stand. It was warmer in there. ๐Ÿ˜† Have a great day and :hug: to all.

  12. sandy says:

    Your post not only made me laugh, but took me back a few years. My son played football, and I felt the same as you. I never did learn what was going on. I remember saying, but what IS a down???? He responded, just shut up and watch the game.LOL! I learned to lie though and act like I watched every play and knew what was going on. My son quit after his junior year and I kind of missed sitting in the bleachers with the other parents. I especially missed the lady who brought the German candy with the rum in it!!!

  13. gretchen says:

    I grew up in st albans wv. I was in the marching band-so we were at the games. I think that those football games were the biggest events in our whole town on a Friday night. people who didn’t have kids at the high school came to the games. I miss it sometimes in the fall. My own high schooler doesn’t like football games. I don’t like football-I just like the memories of sitting there eating nachos and the halftime show with the marching band and the flag twirlers.

  14. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    I don’t understand football either but it’s the only game in town in small town America. It’s the big time. But around here Friday night football games means boneless pork chop sandwiches. Nacho’s just won’t do for hog farmers.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  15. jane says:


    I HATE FOOTBALL TOO!!! But when my son played in the band – i went to every home game for years and years. when it is your kid you have pride they are involved. he is now 24 – what I wouldnt give to go to a game with him. they grow up fast – so enjoy while you have them home.

    he also played ice hockey – had to take lessons for 3 yrs to join a team. try getting up at 1 am , fixing breakfast and to the rink by 2 or so and a game at 3 am only to see first graders leaving the 24 hour rink at 3 am – during a school year. tournaments were all weekend too. you hardly left the rink. winter coat in summer too – who wears their winter coat in summer?

  16. jaq says:

    I never *got* football either. Incidentally I decided I was going to watch it this year and try and make heads or tails of it. Not sure why, but it could be because I got into Friday Night Lights.

  17. Sarah S. says:

    I doll either. I also do no like football either. Your post was really funny. I love your writing. I hope the chickens did well while you were gone. :chicken:

  18. Sarah S. says:

    OK Not sure what happened to my comment I really am a bad typer! :rotfl:

  19. Shari C says:

    I watch football as my husband enjoys it as do the kids, but I don’t understand a lot of it…just a lot of guys running around on a field with lines on. It definitely wouldn’t help you to have me sitting next to you at the game as I doubt I could answer any of your questions, but all that food sounds like it would keep me happy while I sit there…ha,ha.

  20. Nancy says:

    Wow – you took me wayyyyyy back. First, I do not watch football, do not like any TV sports. But in jr high I was a cheerleader, fanatic about my team; worked the concession stand in h.s. (mainly so I could parade in front of the stands selling drinks), and loved to attend football games in college with all the attendant parties. So for me it was social – but now? Hmpf. My daughter was a fantastic soccer player, so I got to attend her games for a few years. Really, Suzanne, it’s fantastic the way your poor uprooted children have really plunged into and embrassed your small town farm life! You are quite a Mom!
    Nancy :purr:

  21. hayseed says:

    I dislike organized sports too-but for me it was hockey and soccer- I was always the mom with her nose in a book. Soccer was better ,cause the fields were so pretty! Sudoku is good to help pass the time…i never did figure out the meaning of the blue line… maybe one day.

  22. Beckynsc says:

    My husband wants our 11 yr old to play football. Me, not so much! I don’t care for it either. If he changes his mind, we’ll back him 100%, and worry the whole time!

  23. becki says:

    I’m from Texas, so that somehow means even the diehard antifootball personality has to be tolerant.

    Our daughter is into ballet. No practices, but she has class twice a week at ninety minutes each. Ballet may not be a contact sport, but those dancers carefully wrap sore, bruised muscles before each class. She comes home sometimes soaked with sweat (girls do sweat) and so sore she can barely move. But, she can’t wait for the next class.

  24. Remudamom says:

    I hate football, and that’s pretty much sacriligious from someone who grew up in T-town, AL.

  25. Donna says:

    15 is a very nice looking young man!

    I HATE sports!!! My father/brother were/are sports-a-holics and so is my husband and his family!! I mean SPORTS-A-HOLICS!!! Was I temp. BRAIN DEAD when I knew this???? and yet married him?????

    I am with Princess!!! Go Princess!!! People watch and enjoy all the cotton candy, snow cones, Nachos!!!!! :mrgreen: :rockon: :shimmy: :thumbsup: :mrgreen:

  26. Jean says:

    I made your Burnt Sugar Cake yesterday. It was perfect! Much lighter in texture than my old recipe. Thanks so much.

  27. catslady says:

    I had to learn to like sports because my husband is such a fan of most of them. I knew I finally loved football when I would watch it without him. Go Steelers and Nittany Lions!!!I had two girls but one of them was in the marching band so I sat through the games to see her. I also skipped the away games and maybe even a few regular ones when the weather was horrendous. My other daughter had to choose between band and art classes and opted for the art which she is now going to college for – no sitting out in the cold for that field lol.

    Loved your commentary with the pics!!

  28. sunnid755 says:

    I resemble that story!! Thanks for sharing.

  29. Estella says:

    I enjoy football. I enjoy any sport but hockey and soccer.

  30. Melissa's Cozy Teacup says:

    I think you need some geese! Did you know that some breweries in Europe use geese as guard…fowl? Geese are mean and I think the giant puppy may need some back up.

  31. Tori Lennox says:

    I hate football, but I bet I’d have fun if I went to a game with you. *g*

  32. Susan says:

    I love football! :snoopy: Living in this area you learn all about football at an early age. No one would dare admit to not knowing the rules! ๐Ÿ˜†

    You are a super mom and made the right call in not letting 15 quit. :thumbsup:

  33. BethAnn says:

    Any mom with a teenage son can so relate!! My son, 16, is a junior and has played basketball and baseball at his small high school for the last 2 years. This year he announces that he wants to play soccer too. Never played soccer a day in his life and he makes the starting team. Now I sit on sidelines all school-year long instead of 2/3rds of the year. Those who know he’s never played before keep asking me how he’s doing….I have no idea. I know absolutely nothing about soccer..rules, positions, nothing. My reply..”ummmm, he runs around a lot…Is that good?”
    Love your blog, read it every day!
    Beth in Michigan

  34. Brandy says:

    I don’t like football and don’t understand it either. *G* However, when I was in HS we went to the games anyway-to check out guys. *G* Go #60! *g*

  35. Abiga/karen says:

    I tried to comment yesterday but our internet connection or the router was acting up. Computer illiterate we are! We are! I never had a child in football but I had them in volleyball and basketball. I never did learn all the rules so I would watch the other parents to know when to yell good or bad things. Now I get to go to TBall and Little League games for the grandkids. Unfortunately only one out of umpteen Little League games were exciting after we went on a losing streak. My grandson pitched a great game and was striking them out left and right. That was the first game of the tournament.Of course after that the angels left the field and we lost all of the rest. Blessings.

  36. Katharina says:

    Yea, he’s cute. And you watch football the way I watch football. And what’s with stopping the freaking clock all the time? What is that all about? Just play and get the game over with already! The thing is, we’ve got lives to live.

  37. Cindy says:

    Oh, my goodness. I think we live the same Friday Night Life! Every one of your observations could be said about football in my neck of the woods. I also have a tenth grader who plays D-line for the JV and dresses for Varsity “Just In Case” – I also make him eat a banana before he leaves for the game! Love your blog – it’s one that I’m sure to check every day.

  38. IowaCowgirl says:

    Dang! We are living parallel lives. My 18 lives for football in our small town – we also are the Raiders!
    My 14 is on the fresh/soph team. I always ridiculed and hated football until they started playing; than I HAD to get involved in something so dear to their hearts!

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