Fall season means football season. Schools around Oakland have been bustling with kids training late in the afternoon. A high school down the block has been busy allowing teams from around the city to use its field for practices and games. During weekdays, they’re practices without much commotion, but during weekends, I can hear crowds roaring and rooting for their teams from my room. It seems to be a neighborhood event and I’ve often seen people around the block watching the games from outside the field gates.
While walking down the block, I watched kids ranging from ages six to nine running around in oversized helmets and shoulder pads, playing a 100-yard game. You’d think that their boundaries would be smaller because of their short legs and incompetent throwing abilities. Those poor kids were tumbling around, following their coach’s orders. Throwing the ball didn’t seem like a possibility, nor a beneficial strategy, so their only tactic was to somehow grab the ball and run. “Come back!!” “Run!!” the coaches would yell. I think half of them didn’t really know what was going on; it was the most adorable game in the world! Can you imagine kids tackling each other? They were like little dominoes; one would fall and the rest would kind of fall together without much force or physical contact, their large helmets pulling them to the ground, tripping over their own little feet; and awww, if only you could’ve seen how much vigor went into their running and how short of a distance they actually covered — it was just so cute.
If you know me, I know nothing of any type of sport. I can’t dribble a basketball. (True story). But lately I’ve been opening up to the bestial sport called ‘football’… only very, slightly, intrigued… only because it has been fascinating to watch the roller coaster of human emotions revealed during one game, from one ardent fan.