Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall in the South

Lowndes High Vikings



Good morning, come on in for some coffee and conversation. I am tired of being bound to this wheelchair or crutches but only about 2 weeks to go. I just keep thinking I can wear pretty shoes again!!

For a woman it is is bad, bad, not to be able to wear pretty shoes. I remember our mama, Miss Tootsie, loved shoes. There were not many shoes she saw, she didn't want. She would buy them and sneak them in the house so daddy wouldn't see them. Daddy thought you needed 1 pair of work shoes, 1 Sunday pair, and 1 pair of house shoes. So needless to say, to avoid a "conversation" about how many shoes mama bought, she would sneak them in and very quietly wear them. We knew if we didn't say anything, he would never notice.

Wow, fall is here! In the South as far as weather is concerned, not a whole lot of difference in the temperature but it is FOOTBALL season. Now, if you live down here, every Friday night is football night at our local high school. The football field is where it is happening and the crowds are large, noisy and loving every minute.

Fans arrive early, dressed in the school colors with bags of boiled peanuts, gallon milk jugs with pebbles to shake, full of school spirit and raring to go. The concession stands, manned by band parents, have lines out the kazoo selling cokes, popcorn and cotton candy. The football team is on the field warming up, the refs are on the sidelines looking important, the band arrives on the field to play the Star Spangled Banner and the crowd goes wild with anticipation.

It is Friday night in the South!!!! You can feel the electricity in the air as the crowd waits in great expectation for the game to begin. The noise begins loudly and gets louder. The players begin to jump up and down, slap each other on the behinds, and get ready for some football. It is electric, exciting and addictive.

The band prepares to play the national anthem and the crowd becomes still and quiet, caps are removed, all turn toward our flag waving in the breeze, hands are placed over hearts, the band begins to play, many sing the patriotic words and tears will glisten in many eyes. Patriotism is alive and well at a Southern football game.

A huge roar from the crowd follows the anthem, the band briskly leaves the field playing the school alma mater, the teams take to the field, the crowd's roar fills the air, the captains meet in the middle, the coin is tossed, the whistle is blown and THE BATTLE BEGINS. It is a battle to the final, fourth quarter whistle. The team plays their best with their coaches pacing the sidelines and guiding them with enthusiasm, shouts of encouragement, calling the plays and leading these boys to play their best.

Let's not forget the cheerleaders. They run, flip, flop, jump up and down, yell loudly. It is amusing to watch them running up and down the sidelines showing off their little assets to the crowd and encouraging everyone to support the team. Now don't get me wrong, I like cheerleaders, but it is hardly necessary to have someone encouraging team spirit for that crowd is already spirited, loud and ready to support their team. They do look cute though and are a big part of the scene.

The band is close to my heart for all 3 of us in our family played in the band at our high school, Wilcox County High School. It was a small band but lead by band directors who took a few kids and had a good band. We put on good half-time shows and best of all, we got to attend all the football games for free. We also got to wear those scratchy, woolen uniforms and look like toy soldiers. Boy were they hot, as in heat. Of course we thought we looked great. Some day I will tell you about the great times we had on the band bus going to away games, maybe.

The Game begins and the boys play their hearts out, the crowd loudly supports them and winning is important but we support them win or lose. It's better if they win, but we keep the faith and know next week is coming and they will win that game. Most of us are optimistic fans and know they will do better next time. If they lose it has to be the referee's fault for we all know they are supporting the team which wins and are half-blind and can't see. This is especially true if the call is against the our team. I don't know where they get these men but sometimes they don't know diddly about football.

The crowd has a great time. We see old friends, make new friends, eat our boiled or parched peanuts, drink lots of coke and scream and yell loudly for our team and the band. We tell the refs when they are wrong and encourage them to get glasses or go home. It is parteee time in the South and we love it.

Many of the fans will have had tailgate parties before the game and the sweet aroma of barbecue, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs waft through air. It smells like fall in the South and makes our mouths water so we head to the concession stands and help out the band or touchdown club to order some more good eats.

Can you tell I like football? For many years I did not miss many games at Lowndes High football stadium and some of the away games. Now I listen to them on my radio and picture that scene in my mind. Maybe I can go to a few games this year for I miss it.

I will have to tell you about one incident early in my years at Lowndes. We had season tickets in the center section about half way up the stadium. Great seats with a good view and for the most part, good company. I had a little problem with the man sitting behind me, however. This man would loudly rant about the coaches not being able to coach, the boys not playing their best and never clapped for the band. I took it for about 3 weeks and finally I had enough from this loud-mouthed, disloyal fan. He began to berate "my boys" and "my coaches" and I stood up, all 5 feet of me, turned to him with fire in my eyes and asked him, "Do you have a degree in coaching?" He looked at me and said, "No." At this point, I pointed out he needed to keep his mouth shut about the coaches and the team that they were doing the best they could and if couldn't do any better just be quiet or support the team.

My sweet husband who was about twice the size of this man was about to punch a hole in my side with his elbow. He was urging me to sit down and shut up for he just knew that man was going to throw a punch at me. I wasn't worried for I knew that even though he was rude, loud and had no 'couth, he wouldn't hit me. At least I hoped not but I may be little but I could have hit him in the stomach if I had too.

He just looked at me with amazement and disbelief that this little, white-haired woman would stand up, turn around and politely ask him to be quiet or support the boys and coaches. An apology followed and I did not see him in that seat again for I guess he figured that if he couldn't support the team he best find another seat. Good riddance to a bad fan.

Go out and support your local football team and have a great time. As soon as I can walk without crutches, I am going to one so that I can experience one of the most enjoyable activities of living in the South, in the fall, on a Friday night.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach
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