The Gathering

Non-fan food for thought

By Hilary Berg

Have you seen that meme with the famous opening scene from “The Sound of Music?” The one with Maria — played by Julie Andrews — twirling among mountain peaks and looking especially joyous? Above and below the iconic character are the words: “This is me ... not caring about football.”

Now, most memes make my eyes roll, but this one is pure gold; the imagery so perfectly matches my feelings about the American sport, a stark contrast to some of my friends’ love of the gridiron.

For these true fans — following their respective teams through the peaks and valleys of each game and season — the carefree feeling seen in the whirling of Maria’s apron is rare. Watch a game with said people, and it can get tense, with clenched teeth, screaming at the screen, pacing, praying and more.

And yet, I understand how this happens. These folks have a great passion for the pastime, likely inherited from the previous generation or cultivated as a child, watching games with family and friends.

For some fans, the “gathering” is the finest part of football. It’s a social event with food, drinks and general fun. Before, during and/or after games — whether at the stadium or in an easy chair — great memories are made, as are plans to do it all again the following week.

You know, maybe I could get into football? I definitely dig shindigs. 

But ... then there’s the actual game — the downs, the carries, the tackles, the punts — so much to keep track of and none of it excites me, at all. In addition, the slower pace doesn’t help, nor does the literal headbanging and obscene number of commercials.

O.K., so you won’t likely see my face painted in team colors any time soon, but you might catch me crashing a party, especially if the hosts are serving dishes like the ones mentioned in our cover story (page 28).

Southern Fried Chicken and Sauvignon Blanc? Yes, please! Smoked Sausage and Hatch Chile Beer Cheese Dip paired with a smoky red blend? Touchdown!

Although I don’t particularly enjoy football, I do fancy washing dishes — strange, I know. Invite me, and I promise I’ll be an asset to “the team.”

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