I don’t like football or sports in general. It’s never been something I’ve been interested in. I only go to Tooele High School football games to listen to my friends in the marching band.
Last Friday, I went to the Homecoming game just for my friends. But as the game progressed, I began to keep track of the score. Then an elderly couple sitting behind me kept tapping my shoulder. They asked me to stop jumping up and down and screaming because I was bothering them. I had been cheering for my high school football team, a team I had never cared to pay attention to before.
Before I knew it, it was the fourth quarter, and it was raining. I looked around and noticed that my fellow students, who I have seen only cheer halfheartedly at other games, were screaming at the top of their lungs and punching the air with excitement — like me.
The game went into overtime and this was when the marching band played so intensely that I thought the world might end if we lost the game. The rain only added to that feeling.
Our team got the first touchdown and I, and several others, stepped down from the bleachers, preparing to celebrate this miraculous win.
But then announcer said the game was over, the score Tooele 31 and Juan Diego 39. Our team lost in triple overtime. Although that’s the best way to lose, and I think we’ve adapted to losing, I had never seen the students so disappointed.
I don’t like football. I couldn’t watch it on television to save my life. Yet, I found myself caring. These games don’t affect my life, win or lose, at least not directly. But it felt so good to care about it because I was caring about it with my entire school. We cared about it with determination and anger and hope, and it’s something I never thought I could care about.
There have been few moments in my career as a student when I’ve truly felt like a part of Tooele High School, a school with teams that we’ve loved to tease in the past. But last Friday night’s homecoming game was definitely one of those moments. I think that’s a lot of what high school is about: Experiencing new things and discovering parts of yourself that you wouldn’t otherwise come to know.
What I do know for sure is I finally understand somewhat how the game of football is played. Until last week, I had no idea how a touchdown was accomplished.
Patience is a junior at Tooele High School.