it's that time of year again! Not only does every product in the
world economy suffer from widespread pumpkin spice contamination
but also entire nacho-crazed communities across America have succumbed
to the yearly epidemic of Friday night high school football mania.
In East Texas, these
events would rival the popularity of a free Beyoncé concert at which
each fan receives an after-party invitation to drink Starbucks Pumpkin
Spice Frappuccinos with the British Royal Family. It was into the
frenzied atmosphere of "Friday Night Lights" that I found myself
thrust recently as I sat waiting to see my eldest and most expensive
daughter perform with her high school dance drill team during halftime.
I have a checkered history with Friday night football games. As
a youth, my initial experience primarily involved wandering around
under the stands looking for lost change and watching more pubescent
people than I make out. (And I wondered why I couldn't get a girlfriend).
I eventually tripped over puberty myself, grew a lavish mullet,
joined the marching band and played the bass drum-the coloring book
of band instruments. And let me tell you, nothing attracted teenage
girls like parading around harnessed to a massive barrel that made
me look like I was in the third trimester of a septuplet pregnancy.
The most excitement I ever experienced playing the bass drum at
a game was when the fuzzy end of my mallet came off in mid-beat,
flew up into the stands and ruined a fan's heavily Aqua-Netted 1980's
I'm also ashamed to admit that despite a brief stint playing junior
high football, I don't really know much about the game. My primary
concern at the time was trying to arrange all of the protective
football pads, cups, gussets, and straps in and around my various
appendages without injuring myself in the locker room. And I still
can't tell the difference between a fullback, halfback, running
back, cornerback, tailback, fatback, baby back, and hunchback. I
also have trouble deciphering the referee signals, many of which
come perilously close to obscene gestures I often see while driving
in heavy traffic.
having failed to convince my wife that we should leave after the
National Anthem, I realized I was in it for all four innings. To
pass the time, I pulled out my 35mm camera with extra-embarrassing
zoom lens and proceeded to mortify my eldest daughter by taking
about 500 pictures of her while she was still sitting in the bleachers
(and giving me a stink eye that rivaled the odor of the guy seated
next to me eating his second boat of chili-cheese nachos.)
Speaking of nachos, my youngest daughter seemed to have come along
strictly for the refreshments. The highlight of her night was devouring
a ginormous pickle while wallowing around in my lap and using my
shirt as a napkin. Although she's all knees, elbows and other pointy
parts, I cherish moments like this because I know that soon, she,
too, will refuse to acknowledge my existence as a fellow life form.
I just wish that holding her in my lap felt a little less like having
my undercarriage trampled by a juvenile bull moose.
My middle daughter has recently entered the dreaded stage of surly
teenage morosity (where everything on the planet is "lame," with
the exception of Converse sneakers, fake fingernails, and cute guys-meaning
barely adolescent male stick figures who spend more time styling
their hair than it takes me to mow my yard). She spent most of the
game walking to and from the girls' restroom, though I suspect this
was just a ploy to increase her chances of bumping into an East
Texas version of Shawn Mendes.
The football game actually turned out to be pretty exciting (as
far as I could tell), and my daughter's half-time performance was
outstanding. Because all of the drill team performers dress and
style their hair the same, I had a hard time finding her, even with
my zoom lens. I eventually spotted her, though, and despite her
beautiful smile, I could have sworn she was still giving me the