Student newspaper of Kirkwood High School.

The Kirkwood Call

Wherefore art thou, KHS football game?

Ian Madden, opinions writer

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I’ve always been a girly guy. My favorite movie is The Notebook, the majority of the songs on my iPod are from musicals and Shakespearean sonnets make my heart sing. So why on Earth do I love KHS football games?

It’s not like I understand the sport. The latest NFL rulebook is a whopping 244 pages long and packed with the foreign language of football. I tried to read it once. I found myself jerking awake an hour after I began with my cheek pasted to the second page.

I’m definitely not an athlete. I can bench press around 20 pounds on a good day, I get more winded walking up a flight of stairs than I’d care to admit and just thinking about gym class makes me nauseous. But no one needs to be an athlete or know anything about football to love KHS games.

Psychologist Dan Wann explains in the book Sport Fans: The Psychology and Social Impact of Spectators that although some people who go to football games get a thrill from the players’ skill and the games’ technicalities, many football-ignorant spectators still enjoy themselves at games due to the psychological fellowship that develops between people supporting the same team.

I haven’t always agreed with Wann’s theory. All through freshman year, I assumed that since I didn’t understand football, I wouldn’t enjoy myself at games. Sophomore year, peer pressure finally dragged me to the bleachers and one of the best experiences of my life.

What made the game so great wasn’t the band or the cheerleaders or even that we won, but the fact that a mob of self-conscious teenagers were going crazy on the sidelines, letting go of their insecurities and being themselves. There was an unspoken understanding that for one night, we could all accept each other’s differences and come together as a school and a community to cheer on the Pioneers.

There’s a certain joy to be found in belonging, and KHS football games are a gateway to belonging. When I go to a game, it’s not because I’m genuinely interested in what happens on the field. In fact, there’s typically a two-second delay between the rest of the crowd’s cheers for touchdowns and mine.

I go to games for the excitement. I go to lose myself in pure joy. I go because it’s the best feeling to be a proud, accepted member of the Kirkwood community and family. Five dollars and three hours on a Friday night is a small price to pay for an experience like that.

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Student newspaper of Kirkwood High School.
Wherefore art thou, KHS football game?