It was my first professional football game, and though it was only an unimportant preseason game, I was excited to finally see the crashing and charging that I’d seen in the Super Bowl for years.
I was instantly taken by all the details that had been skirted over in the broadcast games, most of all, the yard markers. They were like big, orange idols, worshipped and respected by the players, refs, and fans.
From where I was sitting, the action of the game was always framed by the action on the sidelines: cameramen buzzing, cheerleaders dancing, coaches discussing, referees measuring and scrutinizing, and players idling – waiting for a chance to enter the fray. The field was a circus, endlessly fascinating — and though the game itself was subject to constant pauses, the sidelines were constantly bustling.
Though, occasionally, something exciting would happen on the field. I could hear the cracking and snapping of the players’ collisions from my seat, that is, when it wasn’t overpowered by the deafening heavy metal music playing on the speakers.
The refs mulled over everything. There were countless disputes and everything seemed to require intense deliberation. Fortunately, the cheerleaders made sure nobody (at least not the men) grew bored. They seemed to dance in code; every one of the game’s possible scenarios was covered by a different series of hip gyrations and arm pumps.
I had the great fortune of sitting a row behind two insane Viking fans (twin brothers). Completely, utterly insane. Probably just regular Vikings fans. Upon each touchdown they screamed with joy, despite the grumbling of the Rams fans sitting around them. It didn’t matter that they were in enemy territory: they would turn around and face the crowd, yelling in their faces. “Thank god for the Rams, giving us so many easy wins!” They didn’t shut up until the third quarter, after a nearby Rams fan compared the Super Bowl victories of the two teams — the Vikings have none. Some frightful day will bring a Vikings Super Bowl victory, though, and I’m sure the world will never hear the end of it.
Some serious video equipment covered the whole spectacle — giant metal arms flung giant cameras around the stadium so they could record every detail of every down.