Renewed Spirit Uncovers the True Fan

This weekend, it finally happened.

No the Owls didn’t quite beat a top ten nationally ranked team, and no, gas prices didn’t finally go down. This weekend, I finally had my awakening as to what college football is all about.

I must admit, before this weekend I just didn’t understand the craze. Why do millions of people care about a game played by 18 to 22-year-olds, when professionals play the same game every week? Why do people paint their bodies in school colors and scream their lungs out until all that’s left is nothing more than a faint squeaking sound?

Simply put, attending my first college football game answered all those questions and more. There’s just something so captivating about watching your school fight on every play. The biggest difference between the collegiate and professional level is that these guys on the field aren’t just players signed to huge contracts to represent your state. These are your friends, your classmates and students who have dedicated days, weeks, months and years to what they do. You can’t help but swell with pride towards them.

So even as I watched the Owls, my Owls, come up just short against the sixth ranked team in the country this Saturday, I don’t think I could have been more proud even in victory. I remembered the week before when I saw Tavious Polo in my Psychology class, and Rusty Smith in the Breezeway. These aren’t just people representing my city or state. These are my fellow classmates, preparing for their futures in the same place that I do.

In some ways, I now think that college football soars over its professional counterpart. No overpaid players with inflated egos who will leave a team for more money elsewhere and nobody holding out until they get two million dollars more on their signing bonus. These are just young men, with pride in their school, leaving every bit of energy out on the field in jubilant victory or hard fought defeat.

To me, waking up the next day after a game without a voice isn’t a choice anymore – it’s a responsibility.