Tag Archives: Football

The Next Morning

game 1UNL is empty as I walk through it early in the morning. The overcast sky dulls the stadium’s shadow. The sun is smothered and wind blows garbage around empty parking lots, sidewalks, concrete corners in the university maze. Red beer cups flounder down an overpass, and greasy napkins mingle with cardboard signs. Tongues of red licorice are flattened onto the sidewalk. A cap drowns in the mud.

Yesterday began with an earthquake in the morning, shaking me from my bed. Rain poured throughout the day over throngs of fans, and fireworks boomed like tanks around me. The streets were full. The streets were alive. Today, they are empty. I feel like I’ve walked onto the set of a zombie movie filmed in faded tones. There are no fans around the next morning. There is only the left-behind collage of plastic and paper and half-eaten food, and of course the alcohol.

Somewhere in the detriment is a cross, a necklace that fell from a fan. Or maybe it was torn, or fell from a pocket. It’s just another post-game testament to football’s force here. The stadium rises like a temple; didn’t some messiah once point to a football stadium and declare that not one brick will be left standing? Didn’t some messiah once bless a team to win the next game? The stadium looks unused, run-down after rain and the mass of fans. Nothing could keep them away.

I wonder where the heroes have all gone to. I grew up witnessing people ruin sports for me through doping scandals, gambling, dog-fighting, domestic violence. I learned the consequences of commodifying people, the exploitative measures taken to earn a profit, the cost of products sold. Who cleans up the mess? Who loses a parking lot in exchange for more playing space? Whose funding gets cut? There must have been heroes here and there, some legendary folks who made the sport an art and not a business. But for me, they departed a generation ago and live only in history, and it is just an empty stadium surrounded by trash right now. Trash, and one small piece of jewelry that I leave where I found it. It’s not mine to move. It’s not mine to rearrange. I leave it as it is.

-jk

Writing on Game Day

The Mill It’s another game day in Lincoln, Nebraska. The city is dripping with redshirts (not the kind from Star Trek, but closer than you’d think) and people asking for tickets. It’s hot, dry, loud, and alive. There is energy and consumerism in Lincoln today. Parking here, fifty dollars! Hot dogs, popcorn, soda, beer! Families move through the streets as the day builds toward the big game. Parties, I’m certain, are in planning, if not already in mid-construction.

Currently I am not involved in the game day activities. It’s nothing personal, Nebraska, but I have work to do. I have a novel to write, several novels to read, essays to research, critiques to work on, and Renaissance comedies to struggle through. I have work for my research assistantship on top of my graduate classes, plus my ongoing attempts to write and publish.

I’ve tucked myself into a corner coffee shop downtown to caffeinate and induce sleeping problems. I’m going to spend the whole of game day here, watching the red sea of fans part against the street corner while rushing to complete the next section of my novel for workshop on Monday, then finish the 4,501 other projects I have (blogging notwithstanding, of course). I can’t afford to see a game, anyway. Four dollars for a cup of coffee and a scone is better than fifty for a ticket. Even if I watched the game, I wouldn’t particularly care who won. I’m told we’re having a bad season, but I couldn’t tell you a single score. It’s nothing personal, Lincoln; fandom just doesn’t suit me.

-jk