I suppose there are things more disconcerting than having a grown man wearing a giant block of synthetic cheese on his head pour beer on you.
(…being urinated on by a miniature Dachshund, for instance, or having your shirt collar straightened by a wino wearing splashes of decomposing haggis cologne…)
But, being a virgin to the arena of live American Football, I didn’t know such things were par for the athletic spectator course. I didn’t know that a culture existed within which it was acceptable to spew volcanic, garlic-cheese-fry tephra into the faces of those around you, and I’d never heard of any club that invited its members to scream obscenities into each other’s ears and shove stale, under-fermented malty-hoppy yeast aromas up each other’s nostrils.
This club, however, does in fact exist. They are most commonly known as “football fans”.
And, I was among them last night at the snowy Seahawks-Packers game in Seattle.
When my private student, Makoto, invited me to join him in his section 310, season pass seats, he probably thought I knew and cared more about football than I actually do. He probably thought, for example, that I knew what a “down” and a “red flag” were and that I understood why non-inebriated men would line up to wrestle with each other to the dissonant screams of shirtless, chest-painted cat-callers.
But, I disguised my ignorance well.
Having lived in quite a few different countries where strange happenings were the norm, I was able to adapt quickly to the new stadium environment. When others wearing my color (blue) jumped up to wave flags and holler enthusiastic obscenities, I did the same. When natives boo-ed baritone beer breath indecencies, so did I.
And, I think I did all right. (At least…, no members of the Club potato-sacked me or pulled me back into a dank locker room for questioning. And, the rumors of water board-supported quizzes on QB and runningback statistics… well…, nope- luckily never happened.)
And, actually…, I have to admit that the fans won me over. There’s something outstandingly special about the type of primal screaming, hysteria, emotional excitement and touchdown-determined disappointment that comes with watching a live football game;
something we don’t get to experience everyday in our humdrum lives.
Yeah, it’s something alright…
Something like competition-strummed cacophony and oral malodor.
*Edit/Update: Honestly, I had an awesome time at the game, and can’t wait to go to another one!! (I’ll just bring along my supplemental vocal chords and face mask next time!)