Art by Catherine Ferguson
And so the social season begins …
Friday, August 23, 2019 marked the first night of football games across Memphis, and St. Mary’s made sure to show up to cheer on their favorite teams, or at least to socialize a bit. According to a poll taken by students in the week prior to the first big game, 61.3 percent of students made plans to go to either the MUS, CBHS, or White Station games. While MUS had the majority of the votes, CBHS had a large population attending their game as well. Not to mention the popular choice of going to the MUS game only to leave and head over to the CBHS victory dance. While the weekly Friday night lights are a popular way to be “social,” 38.7 percent of students still chose not to attend any game.
So, I wonder: what makes these people decide not to go? And even further: why do we even go to football games in the first place?
Pondering these questions, I went to two members of the student body to hear some perspectives on the subject, and both had much to say. Ellie Bridges Greenfield (11) spends most of her fall Friday nights at games socializing with people in the stands, so the atmosphere of the crowd is very important to her. “If the students are excited and passionate, then you will be too,” she said. Greenfield pushes herself to live in the moment. She believes, “It all depends what you make of [the games]...they could be so much fun or the exact opposite.”
Reese Suddarth (9) flat out admitted, “Football, in my opinion, is quite stupid.” She feels that games have become purely social events, especially at MUS and CBHS. While she knows the value of sportsmanship, discipline and keeping in shape, Reese also recognizes the dangers of football. She pointed out the high levels of concussions and injuries that come with tackling. “It is almost like watching a fail compilation.” Suddarth would rather spend her Friday nights hanging out with her friends in a smaller group, but she still goes to a select few football games.
It feels as if football games are the high school stereotype when it comes to socializing: being in the crowd, watching the cheerleaders, finding a spot, wearing an outfit that fits the theme, going to the rival games. With so much hype surrounding the sport and the teams, there seems to be this pressure to go, and if you do not go, you are not being “social.”
Personally, I enjoy football games when I am with the right people who are cheering on the team and having some fun. Like Greenfield, I think the atmosphere is so important. However, part of creating the right atmosphere is starting with how I, myself, act. If I am worrying about what I am wearing, the people I am with and other silly details, then I am not having the best time. But, when I am paying attention to the game, cheering with my best friends and letting myself be my true self without any social expectation, then football games are actually a ton of fun.
However, there are also so many other ways to be “social” that do not involve watching high school boys tackle each other. Sometimes, I just want to hang with my friends in a smaller setting. Maybe we go out to dinner, watch a movie, go Downtown and have a picnic or walk around Shelby Farms; those nights are some of my absolute favorite nights of the year. Being “social” is so much more than doing what everyone else decides is the event to go to. Socializing comes down to companionship: being with the people who make you the happiest. These are the people that make it easy to let your guard down, live in the moment and not work too hard to have a good time.
So, whether you prefer a high school football game, a dinner party, a movie marathon night or a walk around the city’s best spots, the company you keep is what truly matters.
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