Guest commentary

Thursday, September 4, 2003

Females love football too

Well, it's football time again. Most of your favorite collegiate teams took the gridiron this past weekend and our area high school teams will battle this Friday night.

I love football. I don't know if I am in the female majority or minority stating that, but that doesn't matter to me. I love the change of the weather - how it starts to cool off as the sun sets. I love the smell of the dusk-dew clinging to the field's grass blades. The tailgate parties and bar-b-ques, what can be better on a Saturday afternoon. The band is playing your school's fight song from the bleachers and goose bumps rise on my arms as the ball is kicked.

Maybe I love the game so much because I grew up with two brothers and a lot of boy cousins. I think the neighbors could attest to the fact that there was always a game of football in my parents' yard. Two-hand touch when mom was outside, full on tackle when she was out of sight. The game would probably start at about 10 a.m. and end when it was so dark you could not see to dodge the big oak trees. In fact I think you can still see my little brother's facial impression on one of them...ouch.

Maybe my love for the game has something to do with my childhood. Every Saturday afternoon we were glued to the tube watching our beloved Hawkeyes. Since we only had "country cable," meaning 3 channels, in the event the game wasn't televised all you would have to do is walk around the farm and every radio we owned was zeroed in on the voice of Jim Zabel. The machine shop radio, kitchen radio, even the doors were opened on the pick-up as to let the speakers sound off so that a play was not missed.

Of course the games are much more exciting when you know someone playing, as in any event. My little brother and cousin both quarterbacked at Sioux Central, my brother when it was still 11-man and my cousin the first year Sioux Central went to 8-man. Now, there's something to watch! I have never seen a more exciting season as that one. If you haven't caught one of the area's 8-man games, it's time to do so.

I remember vividly the Coke commercial where "Mean Joe Green" tosses his jersey to the youngster, Walter Payton and the "Fridge" doing the Superbowl shuffle, Joe Montana hitting Clark in the back of the endzone, Rob Houghtlin hitting the game winning field goal in the 1986 Holiday Bowl for the Hawks.

I am sure the fans out there that predate me have their own memories of times when the game was more pure. Fans enjoyed the thrill and excitement of a quarterback picking apart a defense the last 2 minutes of the game. A nerve-racking game-ending field goal to win or lose it all.

Today's professionals don't let their playing do the talking, but rather talk and talk and talk. I think it is safe to assume I am in the majority opinion on that subject. What is it that you have to say to your opponent the entire game? Nothing is more satisfying to me than to see a player smart off and the next play get "juked" right out of his cleats, getting completely outplayed. Now that's a great display of karma.

It's funny hanging out with the guys talking about last night's game. Being a girl the guys assume that all you know is who won or lost. But, not me. I can tell you the difference between the running back and full back, a nickel and dime defense, when the quarterback should have thrown the ball away instead of taking the sack, and I can even spout off about how, to be effective, offensively the team needs to set up a ground game to open up the air attack.

I know all of the official signals for penalties, can assume what penalty it is by where the flag was thrown. I can tell who missed their block when the running back gets tackled for a loss. I know when a wide receiver needs to get out of bounds to stop the clock.

The only thing I can't figure out during the football game is... what the heck are you doing when performing a banana during the basket toss? I don't know if I am in the majority or minority on that question either. One thing is for sure, maybe I should have played cheerleading with my sister little bit more, I bet she knows that answer.

- Ralna Krager is a Pilot-Tribune advertising representative.