What (Else) Really Happens At A Football Game

by Serena Wong, Gloria Han, Emily Finnigan and Vivi Pham
Class of 2016

Ever wonder what’s happened at a football game, but didn’t have the time to go to one?

Sure, there’s all the usual things: The Star Spangled Banner, the tossing of the coin, all the rah-rah shouting with people running back and forth. Braintree High’s football games commonly all have those. Everyone knows what happens on the field. Defense. Offense. Touchdowns. Field goals. But, say, what about the pep band in the corner? What really goes on there in between rousing refrains of “Seven Nation Army” and “Rocky”? One thing’s for sure: definitely not anything coherent.

Welcome to the timeline of a typical football game, as told by members of the band.

Football Program

4:32 pm
There’s a pileup amongst the players on the field. Although it’s been maybe ten minutes since the game started, we’re already cold and hungry. Previous experience on cold game days has already told us that it’s going to be a long game. No one’s really here because of the weather, but we’re still playing. We admit it: we really did hope it was going to rain. Just a tiny bit.

4:39 pm
Vivi, having been delayed by SAT class, finally arrives to sarcastic claps from the rest of the flute section. Various shuffles are made to accommodate her, her case, physics book, and box of tissues. It’s assumed that at some point, physics homework is going to be done, even though we have never done homework during a game. It’s just too cold.

4:42 pm
“And now, a song.” proclaims Emily. Cue up “On The Warpath,” which we, as upperclassmen, have played so many times we can probably play it in our sleep. The wind almost blows over the stands during the song, and Emily takes to beating to the sheet music with her instrument to keep it in line. Unfortunately, for the poor freshmen next to us, they now learn the importance of clothespins on their stands as their music begins to blow everywhere, making it nearly impossible to play (Everyone learns. Sooner or later.). Amid all of this, we’re still hungry. The blankets we’ve brought aren’t helping the cold much, either.

4:51 pm
Our main source of entertainment has become watching the cutest baby with the bluest eyes. Little kids are so adorable we almost forget we’re hungry and cold. Almost.

4:57 pm
We’re still bored. Still don’t want to do homework, though. Not to mention the cold’s getting worse, with the clouds and all. Our latest inquiry at least puts some attention on the game, though. “What are those pink things on the football players’ uniforms?”

5:07 pm
“I WANT A ZOOPALS PLATE WITH CHICKEN NUGGETS THAT’S HOW HUNGRY I AM!” Emily’s now reached the precipice of hunger insofar that she’s gone back to her childhood for memories of food. The sun’s come out, in an awe inspiring moment. We all stare at it with a sense of astonishment.The wind’s picked up a bit, increasing the cold in our limbs. Wielding our instruments is going to be tricky.

5:09 pm
There’s a touchdown….for Newton North. This is taken with quiet acceptance. And hunger.

5:10 pm
“OMG look at all those geese!” Vivi’s spotted a gaggle of geese on the south field, diverting our attention to idly wonder how many geese are on the field, and what exactly they’re doing.

5:13 pm
“GIVE ME THAT BLANKET.” Our section leader, Jonathan Lam, ladies and gentlemen. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around: the girls demanding blankets from boys? At least, that’s how Vivi’s put it. Obviously, we vehemently refuse–we value our warmth way too much, whatever it may provide.

5:18 pm
Still cold. Still hungry. The entire band has started counting the minutes until halftime, when we will be allowed to drop precious dollars for sustenance that carries a significant amount of warmth: pizza and hot dogs.

5:30 pm
Failed attempt at a touchdown for Braintree. There has been an attempt to actually start homework–one of us has started reading King Lear, the other with their Spanish homework. Our hunger persists. There are fifteen seconds to halftime.

The cheerleaders lack their previous amount of pep, but they are synchronized. Couldn’t really hear the cheers, but that’s to be expected when you’re watching from the sidelines and they’re in the center of the field. There seems to be a technical difficulty (which is getting to be normal, unfortunately) with the dance team’s music . . . but they’re synchronized with a lot of kicks. There’s an interesting variety of moves, and it’s very smooth. At the snack stand, we’re heartily disappointed by the fact that no, the stand is not yet selling hot chocolate. But at least they’re selling hot pizza. Tiny slices for two dollars each. Doesn’t stop any of us from buying two.

5:58 pm
We’re back in the freezing stands, having consumed our food. Vivi’s whipped out a plastic bag in a move of genius we’re surprised none of us have thought of until now. We have another touchdown, and the score’s now, 17-0 to Newton. “The Newton cheerleaders look like decorative turkeys!” It’s Emily who shows the first sign of exhaustion, and is being fed orange slices by Gloria. After halftime, everything starts to go downhill . . .

6:06 pm
The game’s come to the point that we’re so bored that we’re singing songs circa 2007. Emily’s breaking down mentally from the cold and we’re all laughing like idiots, reminiscing about old memories from elementary and middle school. Mr. Buckley, the band teacher, must all think we’re nuts. Everyone else in the flute section probably thinks so, too. Second down and five for Braintree. Mr. Buckley tells us to get the school song ready. We don’t have to. We’ve known this for three years. We can play almost every football game tune in our sleep.

Touchdown for Braintree. 17-7 in Newton’s favor. Rustling can be heard from several band members as they riffle through for the appropriate song, having doubted the touchdown until it’d actually happened. Nevertheless, playing is almost impossible–our fingers have frozen.

6:19 pm
Touchdown for Newton, 24-7. There are eleven minutes to game over. First down thirty seven yards. The end is so close, we can almost taste it. Strangely, it tastes like the pizza we bought at halftime.

6:32 pm
“Look at all the geese going south!” “Bye geese.” “Bye geesey geesey…” We’ve officially lost it with three and a half minutes to the end. Such is the debilitation of our mental state–talking to geese.

Every football game, all of us go mildly insane, catch mild hypothermia, and go hungry. Why do we do it? Well, for one, it’s part of our grade. But honestly? We love it. We really do.