Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can Football be Jewish?

Once upon a time, I was a huge college football fan. The moment my family moved to Nebraska in 2006, we bled red -- yes, that's the joke of Nebraskans. Being from Middle America, baseball and football always competed for first place, but the moment we ended up in Nebraska the deal was sealed. How sealed was it? Well, eight years ago, on this very date, I was recovering from quite the Nebraska Cornhuskers football experience.

Note: In August 2003, I was a mere 19 years old. Yes, I was underage. Yes, I was drinking illegally. I don't endorse it by any means, especially in the raucous pre-football drinking that went on in my college days, but you live and you learn. And let's be honest, I wouldn't change any of it for a moment. 
we left for [a friend's] where there was drinking and laughing and consumption of wingzone wings and salads and pizza and beer and vodka and whiskey shots. first time whiskey shots that ran down the corners of my mouth. then we walked to the game in a sea of red like the exodus from egypt when the sea parted. screaming "GO BIG RED!" and hearing the echo of fans from all over scream the same back. laughing and walking and giggling and feeling ridiculous and -- perfection. 
there was something about the air. something about whipping my head back and closing my eyes and hearing the roar of the crowd and the thundering way it echoed around and around the stadium. to see the wave moving slowly around through red and white and a small strip of orange. watching the crowd flap back and forth like corn waving in the wind when we scored. and our voices becoming sore not even half-way through the game due to screams and hollers for "go big red." and the drunken people around me falling all over and grabbing me and laughing and hi-fiving and screaming at the top of their lungs for hours on end was enough to make you burst into tears at the glory of the simple life. the whiskey shot stayed in the middle of my chest cavity for too long and the smell of skyy blue was in my nose. and the boys smelled of miller high life, the champagne of beer. 
For me, Nebraska football was an experience. That was freshman, sophomore, and junior year of college for me -- every weekend I was standing in the student section at Memorial Stadium, a member of the third largest city in Nebraska (on game day, that is). And then? I got over it. 

I'm not sure why, and I'm still nostalgic about my college-football-loving days, but being out East has made my passion for sports wane. In Middle America, football reigns supreme. The entire state gets involved in collegiate games. But out East, it's all major league baseball, paychecks and numbers. It's not the same. It's glamorous and kind of ridiculous. And I just can't do it. I think it's having a counter-effect, actually. 

That's my roundabout way of asking: Is it un-Jewish of me to not be into professional East Coast baseball? Because sometimes, I feel a little out there with my love of football.