[I]t has been a little over a year since I have been assimilated into the high school football Borg. This cybermetic cultish collective has been an interesting process for me personally, now that my daughter is part of a band. For that reason, my obligation for watching football has increased a hundredfold. I have seen more live football in the past year, than all my sports watching combined previously in my geeky life.
Through these experiences, it has taken me a while to understand the value of “kicking an oblong ball made of pigskin through a big H.”
I’ve had a year to run some data, do some assessments, and really analysis the intellectual passion behind the purpose of high school football. I believe I have figured it out. The purpose to the football conundrum is to make new fans.
It is a circular, self-feeding, Malcolm Gladwell Tipping Point from which new fans are created by the people group experience.
Here let me explain.
The Football Team’s Parents & Families Make New Fans
We all understand the value of teaching teamwork in school. After all, as they say, “There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM.” Kids today need to learn the value of outdoors and exercise. Combine all three of these with matching costumes, weekly games, stripped fake grass, and you have the spark to make new fans.
Cheerleaders, Flag Parents & Families Also Make New Fans
An organization should not be purely one sex. Since football seems to be a predominately male sport, its logical to create another team predominately of females to add to the circle. I fully understanding the need to create other costume driven cheerleaders, drill teams, and flag groups. These additional organizations promote the need for stadiums, stands, people to organizing tickets, food, and other trinkets. To help identify which club you represent, shirts and paraphernalia needs to be bought and sold as well.
THE BAND with their Families, Complete the “Make New Fans” Objective
Chasing, throwing, and running after pigskins is complicated business. It requires rules, timeouts, and live commentaries to explain what everyone just saw with their own eyes. But alas, maybe it is necessary since most of us are waiting for our flag twirling daughters, band marching sons, to invade pigskin’s halftime.
The Community Addition Makes New Fans
Next, with five culture groups on field, the community begins to wonder, “What’s going on? As “as keep up with the Joneses” followers, looking for a reason to TiVO, they fold into the stands and join the noise.
Finally, at this moment, the cool aid is drank. The Borg is assimilated. Resistance is futile. The cult gains a new member.
You put the laptop down and become one with the moment.
You get caught up in the chant. You breathe in the fumes of the giant pretzel. You take a bite of the over priced hot dog. You scream at the top of your lungs…
“Throw that pigskin to the leotard guy in the golf grass by the big H!!!!”
To which everyone in your section stops and looks at you like you have syntax error in your code.
Time stops and life re-compiles.
The costume dude, with his hands in the air, catches the pigskin by the H!
Your section explodes AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS! The stands shake with an 8.7 earthquake magnitude. Popcorn and Coke spill aimlessly on your laptop.
People who just seconds ago wouldn’t give a dying man CPR, are now jumping, hugging, and kiss you! Strangers are slap your butt! You are being picked up and twirled around, like you were the actual coach who called that play.
With so much noise and you actually go deaf with over ringing ears.
It’s in that mind numbing silence that you have your “moment of clarity.”
This is how they make new fans. You just became one of them. You, YOU ARE A FAN!
What do you think of high school football? What has been your experiences?
Image of my daughter’s high school marching band.