The language of football spoken often in the South

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Today’s Special

Yay, football is back!  But it’s never really over for we speak football lingo every day.  So, if you’ll “get your head in the game,” we’ll get this “kicked off!”

First, football has defined what perfect weather is.  “Football weather” is what everyone wants from September through December, whether under Friday night lights or somewhere Saturday down South. Clear, slightly cool, with low humidity and no precipitation of any kind.  Anytime summer temps drop a little you’re sure to hear someone wistfully say, “this feels like football weather.” No better weather for any outside event.

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Football has also identified the choice seats.  “50-yard line seats” mean the best seats in the house wherever you are.  And seats in the “nosebleed section” are too far away to enjoy or even see what’s going on.  “Sky box” seats provide the ultimate in luxury and comfort.  And it’s always loud and fun in the “cheering section.” Go, team, go!

The “Coach” once meant the person in charge of a sports team who was the team’s teacher, playbook maker, mentor, encourager, uniform washer and disciplinarian. But now there are coaches for everything rom childbirth to finances and health, even fashion and the end all of all coaches, life coaches.  Maybe a few extra laps around the field would help in the game of life.

And then there’s the wanna-be coach, now called an “arm-chair quarterback.”  This person thinks he knows more about what’s going on and wants to call the shots.  He can really “talk a good ballgame.” 

Football fashion. Once only players wore jerseys, but today “jerseys” are everywhere on everybody for any occasion. In class, on the job, even in church and on grandmothers, making statements all over the field of fashion. I just hope the “shoulder pads” of the 80s aren’t “put back in the game.”  

The game of football is played with an oval shaped ball, sometimes referred to as “the pigskin.”  Today it’s more likely to be made of cowhide or rubber, but in the early years of the game animal bladders were cheap, easy to come by and inflatable so almost anyone could make a football (and hence the shape). By 1860 that changed, thanks to Charles Goodyear and his discovery of vulcanized rubber.  Maybe that’s why the Goodyear blimp shows up on football weekends. 

 “Huddle up” team, there’s strength in comradery and working for a common goal. And every “team” requires a “quarterback” to lead and call the shots, a center to get the play started, guards for protection, and receivers to head downfield and get the ball across the “goal line,” into the “land of milk and honey” as Jack Cristil used to say. 

But the game sometimes comes down to “4th and long,” and things aren’t looking so good for the home team, there’s a decision to be made to “go for it” or “punt.”  In some situations, it is best to regroup, review options, cut losses and punt.  Other times we can “throw the bomb” or as a last resort chunk the “the Hail Mary” and go for it all or just try for the inch to get the 1st down.  There are “options.” 

Some players have the job to “tackle” and stop the advancement of the opposing team.  What a way to take on a problem – tackle it with all the force of a big, tough, strong 300-pounder wearing pads. Yeah, we’re tough, and maybe a little “trash talking” might help stop the problem, too.

Thankfully the game of football does allow for “timeouts” (or is it times out?). Either way it’s helpful to stop, rest a minute and talk about it.  And, sometimes a little time “on the bench” will help a player get his mind straight, like misbehaving little kiddos sometimes need a “timeout”. 

And for now my own DW is “sidelined,” but he’s staying strong and keeping his mind in the game as we follow a new set of game plans to get him healthy again.  Stay tuned for an update on his condition and when to expect him back. 

 “BALLGAME!” The end, all done…it is what it is.


Written In memory of our tailgate buddies. “Big Dawg” Ken Warren who tailgated in the same spot on the MSU campus for 50 years, even driving his motor home right up to the hallowed spot loaded with Polk sausage and gumbo; and Donald O’Brien, a soft spoken, kind, fun, forever loving bulldog fan from Maben, who always stayed to the very end to help take it all down and pack it up until the next time. Saturdays in Starkville just won’t be the same.