The kids went back to school last week and Friday night was the first home football game. I wasn’t planning on going. Thankfully Chandler doesn’t play football, but he is in marching band. I probably sound like a terrible mother for not going to see her son perform, but our high school marching band doesn’t really march. They stroll onto the field before the game in their “Blue Crew” tee shirts and then sit in the stands for the entire game. At half time instead of performing they get a break and swarm the concession stands.
Our high school has actually has an excellent award-winning music program, but our focus is on performing, not marching, so in the stands they sit. And they only play two or three songs. I know because I went to all the games last year. He plays percussion – I hear him banging drums all the time! Plus he’s in Honor’s Wind Ensemble – I’ll go to those performances. (Have I convinced you yet that I’m not a terrible mother?)
Thursday night I received a call from the president of the music booster club looking for volunteers to go to the game and bring the snacks to the field and watch the instruments when the band took their break. Even though I hadn’t planned on going, I hadn’t planned on doing anything else either, so I said yes.
Marley was happy because even though she doesn’t care about football she does like to prance around and check out the social scene. The football game started at 7:00, but the band (and band volunteers) had a call time of 6:00. Marley had soccer practice from 6:00-7:00 so Dave was going to drop her off at the game just after 7:00 and she was going to meet me in the stands.
Our football team is terrible. We are the second worst in our league. We used to be good, but a few years ago the elite, private Christian school down the way started poaching all the best players. (Which if you ask me doesn’t sound very Christian.) Of course I have to admit if that school thought Chandler was so amazing at track that they offered him a full scholarship we’d be saying buh-bye to public education too, so who am I to judge?
Even though our team is terrible it was the first game of the season and
there was a free barbecue for kids wearing “Blue Crew” spirit tee shirts we have a lot of school spirit so the game was packed. When Marley got there at 7:10 the line at the ticket window was so crazy she decided to blow it off. She was tired from soccer (and being back in school and having to think for the first time in two months), so she and Dave just went home.
I knew a lot of people at the game, but none of them were sitting near the band, so I ended up sitting by a couple that were there to see their daughter cheer. The dad smelled like a brewery, but he was entertaining. (He obviously doens’t know that if you’re going to come to your kid’s game/performance/whatever hammered that you are supposed to drink vodka because you can’t smell it. Not that I’ve ever done that -seriously- that’s just what I’ve heard!)
Somehow our sucky team blocked a punt return on the opposing team’s first drive and ran it in for a touchdown. We didn’t get the PAT, but seven minutes into the game we were ahead 6-0. Our opponents quickly scored and got the two-point after conversion, making the score 8-6. We scored – again not getting the conversion (12-8), then they immediately scored again (14-12) and then scored again (20-12).
It was an exciting game, but maybe because it had been a while since we’d all been to a football game, or maybe because we -the parents- are all jaded, the game just seemed long. Really, really long. And, despite our two touchdowns, a little hopeless.
Dave texted me for a game update. 20-12 with about a minute to go in the world’s longest football game, I texted.
“I think that time has actually stopped,” said my drunk friend. “This is the longest football game in the history of football.”
“Maybe they’ll score on this drive and tie it up so we can go into overtime and make it even longer,” I joked.
“I think I’d prefer to take the loss,” he said.
There was a large group of kids in the bleachers to the right of us that had been rowdy -in a good-natured cheering sort of way- all night. At least 20 of the boys in the group were shirtless, their bodies painted with player’s numbers and team cheers. The group started to chant, “We believe that we will win. We believe that we will win. We believe that we will win…”
Oh to be young and have such school spirit and optimism. There was no way we were going to win this game.
But then…but then…
With only three seconds left in the game and the quarterback scrambling to find a receiver that was open, looking like he was about to be sacked any second, he threw it 25 yards into the end zone and the pass was caught! It was amazing. It felt like a scene in a movie.
The score was now 20-18. We went for the 2 point conversion and scored. 20-20. We were now in overtime and the stands went wild. Nobody cared that this was the longest game in history anymore.
I texted Dave. 3 seconds left and we tied the score. Going into OT.
The high school is literally at the end of our street – only a half mile away. Dave texted back, Marley and I are coming to watch from the hill.
In overtime each team was given a chance to score again from the 25 yard line. If both teams or neither team scored they would both go again. If only one team scored, that team would be the winner. Our team went first. We scored! It was the other team’s turn.We held them back. They were denied!
marching sitting band played. The cheerleaders cheered. The crowd hugged and high-fived.
Against all odds our scrappy little football team won its first game of the season 26-20.
If you want to know the truth, it will probably be the only game we’ll win this year. But who cares, because those last few moments of this first game…they were magic!