Saturdays in the fall means college football. I was bred on a football diet from dad who was a college player and later a coach. Every Saturday mom, my siblings and I were the fans in the stands. While dad eventually left coaching, football continued to be a big part of our life.
During the last few years, I have tried to limit my actual attendance at football games. You know those drivers whose personality changes when they get behind the wheel? That is me when I sit on bleachers in the stands. I shout, cheer, clap, stomp my feet and jump up and down to the enjoyment or annoyance of all those around me.
Yesterday, I attended a Division 3 college game between the Macalaster College Scots and the Hamline University Pipers. First off, I just love those names… Scots and Pipers. My brother is an assistant football coach for the Scots and we wanted to show our family support by attending a game. I knew I was going to love the experience from the moment we arrived. It was a gorgeous fall day, there was tailgating in the parking lot (oh the smell of burgers and brats) and as we walked to the stands we encountered a group of bagpipers. Life just doesn’t get any better than that.
College sports connects you with complete strangers by sharing a common goal. We want ‘our’ team to win. College sports also provide you with history. I learned that the Scots and Pipers have been rivals since their first game in 1887. Yesterday was the 112th time the two teams had played football. That is almost difficult to wrap your head around.
As I chewed my nails and screamed myself hoarse for a group of young adults I don’t even know I learned that the Old Paint Bucket Trophy was up for grabs. Yes, whoever won the game was going to get the Old Paint Bucket traveling trophy. The Scots have not had the Paint Bucket since 1998 so the tension on my side of the stands was palpable. When I began to yell “Win the Old Paint Bucket!” my niece actually put her hand over my mouth.
By the fourth quarter I had lost my voice and started to calm down. The Scots were ahead 17-0 and it looked like they were going to hold on and bring the trophy home so it was time to rest my voice. In my silence I listened to the other fans cheering and the announcer. The announcer was a character and when one of the Scots was tackled by a group from the other team he announced that he “was wrapped up by a band of pipers.” I looked over at my sister and we laughed with joy. What a great day for some good old football.