Rah Rah Rah

Stand by Your Team
By Mary Matus

Well, it's that time of the year again - football season. Sadly enough in the almost 10 years I have been going to football games, I still don't understand them. I usually have to turn to the person I'm at the game with and ask "That was good, right?" One of the best things they could have done on TV was to show the little yellow line they need to cross to make a first down. So, instead of shouting out "Was that good?" now I'm shouting "Hey, we crossed a yellow line!!"

As much as I love watching football, it can be a depressing time of the year, especially from the high school point of view. Don't get me wrong. I have as much school spirit as the next person. But it isn't easy. See, football is not one of my high school's strengths. Common phrases heard at my school's games include "Oh, boy. They scored again," "Geez, we almost scored that time," "Maybe we can score at least once," and "This team is supposed to really suck. Maybe we could beat them."

The first game I made it to this year was the one with our school's big rival. Every year everybody makes a big deal out of it, and (other than homecoming, of course) it usually draws the biggest crowd of the season. I go to this game out of tradition and with the secret hope that we could actually win. Well, it wasn't pretty. In the past 10 or 15 years, we've only beaten them twice. Needless to say, I wasn't at either of those games.

Imagine my shock when I went to a college where - oh my God - we actually had a winning season a couple years. I must have been in shock the first couple games. I explained to my friends: "I'm sorry. This winning thing is new to me."

My taste in professional football hasn't fared much better. I am very proud to be a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Every year at the beginning of football season, I would say to my dad (who's very proud to be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan), "I have a good feeling about this year. I think this could be the year." My dad would laugh in my face.

Last season, I'm proud to say, we made it into the playoffs. During the last game, I had several pieces of Eagles memorabilia (football, little bear cheerleader, etc.) sitting out in hopes it would send good thoughts to my boys. (I'm a firm believer that if you cheer enough, they can feel the good thoughts.) Unfortunately, the good thoughts weren't enough; they lost, resulting in my screaming at the TV, "Where'd you learn to play football?"

While it could be the beginning of a new era for the Eagles, it looks like the end of an era for my other boys, Penn State. Imagine my surprise while watching their opening game, that it actually resembled one of my high school games (including several frustrated Penn State fans commenting, "Well, at least we scored").

Although it is a sad occasion for many loyal Penn State fans, it is hard for me to be too upset. After all, I'm used to being humiliated.

I'm only concerned about the fans. A co-worker once commented to me that after Penn State lost a few games last year, people began taking their Penn State bumper stickers off their cars.

I was insulted. As I said, I know what it's like to cheer for a team that doesn't have much luck winning games. However, if I don't make it to all the games in a season, it's because of scheduling problems and not because I've given up on my team.

I always believe that each season is going to be better, and even if it isn't, I know that someday it will be our time to win. You just have to be patient.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to cheering for my team. "We're number two!" Oops. I meant to say one. Really I did.

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