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Baby are you down, down, down, down, HIKE!

February 4th, 2010

It’s not a Jay Sean song and certainly not where your pants should be, according to Gen. Larry Platt. Outside of the music world, a down is known as the completion of a play in the sport of football. 

As the New Orleans Saints take on the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, many sports fans will be whipping out the pigskin, their Bud Light tailgate-approved coolers, and the gold, black, blue and white face paint.

Even though football doesn’t have apple pie or Cracker Jacks, it’s becoming the new great American pastime. 

George Carlin said “[It is where] in the stands, during the game, you can be sure that at least 27 times you are perfectly capable of taking the life of a fellow human being. Preferably a stranger.”

Like myself, a growing number of these strangers, in the stands, are not only decked out in sports apparel and the team colors, but mascara and matching Uggs. 

I am talking about the often forgotten and always underestimated female football fan.

Although most of us were deprived of playing football as a child, we were forced to go to the games of our older and/or younger brothers. While my fifth grade brother learned about football from his coaches and tackling other small children on the gridiron, I, a reigning seventh grader, learned about football from the overexcited fathers and mothers in the stands. 

“Johnny! What are you doing? Go through the hole, son!”

“Mikey! Get your knuckles white, get low and tackle him!”

Whether the female football fan came to know the sport through a sibling, father, boyfriend or pure curiosity, there are some things that make a fanatic female football fan different from any guy. 

Throughout the years, I have noticed that it’s all about numbers with guys. 

Who was the team to beat in 1976, what are their fantasy football ratings, and how much they bet New England to win over the Raiders are all common water cooler conversations. 

On the other side of the cafeteria, the game of football for females is not one purely of statistics and plays, but of emotion and heart. 

We love the game not only for the details and intensity, but the tradition, the emotion, the underdog victories, the physical and aggressive drives, and finally the elegance of a well performed play. 

Don’t get me wrong it’s all football. Both men and women can appreciate both perspectives. So, remember on Sunday as the pre-game ensues and The Who rocks halftime, a fan is a fan. 

Female, male or university squirrel, it’s about donning the colors and numbers of our teams. 

It’s not about who is rooting for who, or who knows or doesn’t know what, but cheering for your team rather than against the other. 

It’s not only about the numbers on the board, but the hearts and passions of both teams from kickoff to the final whistle.

And if we can all remember all these things, then maybe next season I can still wear my Pittsburgh Steelers jersey around campus.