MODESTO -- If you'll pardon the poorly perpetrated pun of the title and any pitiful or pathetic pun to follow, it really is time to gear up for the high school football season!
Football players get their own team playbooks, but why don't the fans receive any special coaching? Well, here's a guide to what you need to stick it out through the duration of a high school football game. High school football fans, to borrow a line from Dwayne Johnson's script: "This is your game plan: Learn it, live it, love it."
Sweat shirt Oh, man (and woman), it can get a little chilly sitting out there on those bleachers. Those metal monsters seem to suck all the warmth of your body, so be sure to bring along a thick sweat shirt to keep out the wind, preferably in your school's spirit colors.
Blanket It's basically follows the same principle as the sweat shirt. If you'd rather not endanger a blanket from home, purchase one for the sole purpose of using at football games. You can get a soft and warm blanket from the Dollar General Market for about $8. My friends and I can testify to that. You'd be surprised how many people can actually fit under one of those things.
Chair Grab one of those padded chairs that can hook onto a bleacher if you're really concerned about saving your rear end from taking a beating. Check to see if your school sells those. Otherwise, rough it and tough it out like most high school students. After all, a sore behind is part of the experience.
Wallet (preferably with cash inside) If you want the full experience of a football game, you're going to want to purchase nachos with all the works or those simple but oh-so-wonderful caramel apple suckers to be found in any self-respecting snack shack. You wouldn't be remiss in purchasing a cup of hot cocoa to warm your hands and your insides either. Or, if you're Dutch and cheap like me and my friends, smuggle your own food and drinks in. Who knows? It might save you a few whole pennies!
Spirit Deck yourself out in spirit clothes and colors, bring along pom-poms, flags, posters, or noisemakers, and make sure your voice is strong enough to yell pretty loudly. Cheer your team on; don't just leave it up to the cheerleaders. A football game would not be a game without the fans, so don't be afraid to get loud and crazy!
Good attitude Last, but certainly not least, and actually most importantly, bring a good attitude. Respect refs and don't complain about their calls it kind of ruins the game for everyone else. Respect the opposing team and don't make rude comments. Respect your fellow fans. Respect the fans of the opposing team and don't get into nasty fights or shouting wars with them. Respect the home field and don't leave trash everywhere. Fans should be good sports, too, not just the players.
Although many people don't attend football games to actually watch the guys in tights run around on the field trying to catch a spiraling ball and smashing into one another at full speed (I'm in the guilty party), it still is a fun part of your high school experience. Your football players get pumped up when they can hear you cheer and, even if you just go to socialize, you're still going to need your game plan.
Just remember to play by the rules.
Emily Hoeksema is a senior at Ripon Christian High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.