Summer is drawing to its close. The students have returned, shattering the temporary illusion of peace and quiet, and the very first signs of fall have appeared in the form of days with a humidity index below 80 percent. That can mean only one thing — football season is upon us once more.
For many University of Iowa alumni, the kind who can be said to possess “school spirit,” football season is a time of excitement and nostalgia for their glory days, which they spent majoring in accounting and accumulating liver damage. For the rest of us, it’s akin to a very boring zombie apocalypse, in that the highway is at a complete standstill and you’re suddenly surrounded by shells of human beings that make unintelligible noises in unison. I’ve survived nine football seasons in this town, and I’ve been to exactly one football game. Below are my tips for the football averse:
Get out of town. Seriously, this is the best way to handle this. I’m spending the Iowa-Iowa State game at a cabin in Clear Lake. I realize you can’t do that every weekend, but a college football game is like your friends’ breakup; it’s better to just not be around for it than to get sucked into it. If you leave on Saturday morning, the road out of town should be clear for miles.
Stock up on the essentials beforehand. And by essentials, I mean alcohol. Trust me when I tell you, you’re not going to want to be in any bar with a TV, which is all of them. (The Foxhead usually uses theirs to blast TCM, so they might be a safer bet, but I digress.) Should you, against your training and better judgment, choose to go out, you will be fighting for barstools with girls in black-and-gold-striped overalls and their dads, who, despite being in late middle age, have still not figured out how to have fun without getting three sheets to the wind and trying to beat up the bartender for not calling them “sir.” It’s not worth it.
Don’t be a crank. Yes, football as a sport is plagued by ethical issues, and yes, in the Midwest, it has become emblematic of a certain type of masculinity that not many men can or even want to live up to, and yes, to many of us, it just sort of looks like a bunch of dudes in tights rolling around together on a lawn. However, when you loudly complain about those things in order to redirect the conversation towards a topic that you know a lot about, you are, in fact, the one who looks like a brain-damaged Neanderthal.
If you see the Beer Band, turn in the opposite direction and run for your life.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 310.