The Obsession With Football


Esther Lian, Senior Writer

I have to confess that as an immigrant, I don’t quite get America’s love affair with its brand of football. 

For a start, while the rest of the world plays football with their feet, the American game is largely played with hands. By the look of its gear, one is in no doubt that this is a violent game. With a helmet, a facemask, a mouthguard, a heavily padded shirt, and a girdle that pads a player’s hips, thighs and buttocks, it is no wonder that players need to wear huge numbers on their jerseys or we would never be able to identify them. Yet the most baffling part of the game, to me, is the amount of time that the players spend in huddles rather than in actual play. Sure, I get it, huddles are for strategizing, but in all other sports, strategies are worked out before a match, or during halftime. The constant need to punctuate play with huddles breaks the momentum of running and scoring, which is frustrating….at least for this uninformed spectator. 

Yet there is no doubt that sports bring people together. And in America, nothing quite brings Americans together like football. Even in a high school like ours, where our football team wins as many games as it loses, football brings players, supporters, families and the community together. “I usually go to the football games because it’s a fun social event with all my friends and watching the game is fun,” junior Tara Yassamy said. Indeed, cheering for one’s team while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other supporters brings forth a heart-thumping adrenaline rush and an inexplicable euphoria. Junior Emily Hernandez describes it best. “It’s an enjoyable experience because the atmosphere is thrilling, and cheer and marching band are great at hyping the crowd up,”  Junior Melody Chen concurs, “I used to not attend football games, but I now help to work the concessions as a member of the Junior Class Cabinet. Watching the game out of the corner of my eye and hearing all of the cheers makes me wish that I went to more games in the past.”

One of the most prominent celebrations around football is homecoming, a tradition that dates back to the early 1900s. It is when alumni return to their alma mater to support their football teams in their biggest games of the season, typically with their fiercest rivals. Over time, traditions expand to include other activities that boost school spirit. While every school and college define their own homecoming traditions, celebrations typically include a pep rally, a parade, and a coronation dance (where a homecoming court, including kings, queens, princes, and princesses is crowned); San Marino is no different. 

This year, our high school will celebrate homecoming spirit week starting October 3. When asked which is their favorite San Marino homecoming tradition, most of our students express excitement for the annual parade that features floats and performances along Huntington Drive. It feels like the whole city comes out to cheer for our school district as the parade comes down the road. Others vocalize appreciation for the hundreds of posters that decorate the walls and hallways around our campus—each hand-drawn by members of the ASB. Sophomore Jodie Chon says she loves the posters “because there’s always one that makes [her] laugh for a good five minutes!” But for junior Megan Choa, her favorite part of homecoming week is “definitely dress up days and coro because I love dressing up with all my friends!” 

Whether you enjoy football or not,  there is definitely a celebratory festivity in the air during homecoming week. If you missed the dance last weekend, don’t miss the many other events of homecoming week!