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On a crisp Saturday afternoon I sat among a few hundred football enthusiasts, all dressed in bright pink waiting for the Pointer-Kohawk pink game to begin. It was only my second week in America and I was already at my first American football game, ready to cheer for the UWSP Pointers. Coming from a country like India where there was no American football, I was quite skeptical about finding the game entertaining but to my surprise it turned out to be one of my most fun and memorable days in America.
The packed stadium sounded like a disturbed bee hive, because of the clamorous combination of conversations between spectators and vendors, the music being played out of the large speakers and the occasional blare of a trumpet or the wail of a clarinet as the pep band set up. The noise level had several bursts and drops as the game progressed but the loudest it got was when the rival teams ran onto the field at the start of the game. Both sides of the stadium wanted to show their support for their team but as the Pointers were playing at home the UWSP stands had more people and were louder. I could feel my heartbeat elevating out of excitement as I stood among so many strangers cheering for a team I had never seen before.
When the game began, my eyes kept alternating between the rectangular field that looked like a large green neatly spread blanket striped with white graduations and the big black electronic board that kept track of the score, time and play. For every good play, the spectators were awarded a look at the routine that the beautiful cheerleaders had prepared. The routine consisted of several jaw dropping flips and stunts that were graciously delivered by the team of petite young girls who made the extremely difficult task look easy. The pep band was entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the spectator’s attention so every time the noise level died down, the band would begin playing and in turn revive the crowd’s enthusiasm.
As the day progressed, smell of the fresh autumn air was overpowered by the appetizing scent of hotdogs, fries and baked potatoes. Almost everybody had some kind of food or drink in their hands. The sight of the pink juicy hot dogs and the golden brown potatoes glazed with butter made me cheat on my low carb diet and made me dig in. Though the food was simple and common, it tasted like the best food I had ever eaten in America.
At the end of the first half the heavily padded sweaty young men left their battleground and were replaced by small teams of mini football players from a nearby elementary school. The kids played for a few minutes before the UWSP dance team stepped in and performed to a couple of songs. The Kohawk fans seemed nervous while the Pointer fans were in a celebratory mood, the game had stopped at 24-7 putting the Pointers at a 17 point lead.
The game turned out to be a close one, a last-minute fumble recovery helped the UW-Stevens Point football team win by holding off a fourth-quarter rally by the Coe college-Kohawks. The sheer joy of winning as well as the combination of tasty food, an excited atmosphere and the feeling of being part of something big made me fall in love with the game. I feel that going to the game was one of the greatest experiences that I’ve had in America and now I look forward to attending more football games.
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