M y high school was a bunch of mollycoddled milksops. The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, NY, had bleachers and two goal posts, but it didn’t have a football team. People are more surprised that I attended a high school without a football team than learning that I’m a quarterican Jew whose parents both pee sitting down (sorry, Dad). If someone wanted to play football, he needed to do it a few towns over at Roslyn High School. So, it’s no wonder that as the drama art chick in the tie-dye who was photographed on a branch IN A TREE for her senior yearbook, under the title, "Most Creative," that I didn’t develop many feelings of camaraderie.
No offense to Columbia University, but, uh, slogging up to Baker’s Field on 218th Street to see our Lions win, or more often than not lose was unremarkable, each and every time. The tailgating food tasted like the color gray. I still attended the games because I liked the idea of team spirit, the idea of belonging to something bigger, rooting, wanting something for the whole, instead of just for me. I also went to look at boys and feel like I had more friends than I did.
Oh, but now. Now I live in a state where people eat Roadkill Cake and wear Longhorn earrings. A place where the entire city is dyed to match my burnt orange hair. It’s hard not to have team spirit when you’re wearing the team colors, even down at the roots. Still, I’ve managed just fine, until now. Now I’ve got about as much team spirit as a Weight Watchers’ group the week after New Year’s! There. I said it. I can’t say that I’ve resisted up until now because that would imply that I had even a slight interest. I haven’t. Quite frankly, I’ve always seen fans of spectator sports as…well, as low rent. Granted, it’s a downright limited, not to mention erroneous, point of view. It’s not true, but it feels true.
Here. This is it. It feels like standing at a roulette table, the one you’ve cozied up to for a while. The waitress knows your drink by now, but you’re not sure where to place your chips. Then a drunken flock of manboys crowd your table, start hooting, shoving hands, throwing chips on red, and you’re sitting there thinking, "Fuck it. Why not. They must know something." You get sucked into their energy. That’s exactly what it’s like, except if I put my chips on red tonight, I’d be tarred, feathered, and I might lose an eyebrow.
My gung might’ve been fashionably late to my all out ho, but it’s here now. And I kinda like her! She’s all feisty and ready for tonight’s game, where we’re the underdogs. You know I have to be serious when I’m agreeing to go to a place called "The Tavern." Mind you, I’ll be bringing two bottles of Pinot Blanc and one Oregon Pinot Noir, but still. Baby steps. Hook ’em horns.