OK fellow fans, especially those of you lucky enough to have tickets for today’s big game. I just want to remind you to stick with the fundamentals that got you here. See the hot dog, eat the hot dog. See the beer, drink the beer. You’re not going to be able to win this thing all by yourself. Every fan just needs to be ready to do their part when the bench players start signaling us by waving their sweat towels. You don’t want to blow your vocal cords out in the first quarter cheering for a quarterback sack on third down, you’ve got to save something for the rest of the game. Everybody can’t be Megaphone Mike, out in the bleachers, doing his signature Pig Call every time the defense digs into the mud for a goal line stand, but all together we can make a helluva lot of noise when our number is called.
Now is the time to get past all the distractions of the past week. So what if the team shop is still out of the star quarterback’s jersey due to supply chain issues in China? You can just wear one of your classic uniforms, like the championship sweatshirt from 1989 that’s gotten you through some of the toughest games in history, including the semifinal when the guy behind you spilled his entire Coke on it after an interception. Yeah, you were wet and sticky for a while, but you forgot all about it when Smashmouth Brown ran for a 70-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, didn’t you? A wet sweatshirt never felt better! Sure, it’s a tough break that your oldest son flunked his latest math test and has been grounded and quarantined in his room with his mostly unused Algebra textbook, but the game will go on! Next man up! Your youngest son will be excited to take his place in that precious season ticket seat, even if he doesn’t yet understand all the nuances of a nickel defense, or the difference between man to man and zone coverage. Because now is his chance to really step up his game. Lord knows he’s had plenty of practice making noise and yelling at his siblings at home. We’re sure he can be just as loud in the bright stadium lights where it really counts.
And even though all of us can’t be there in the stands with you, we’ve got your back. While you’re in the parking lot tailgating, we’ll be tending the essential three-bean chili that got us into the playoffs in the first place. We’ll be making Mom’s classic corn bread recipe that we’re pretty sure was responsible for that comeback win in the semifinals in 1995. Rest assured we’ll be wearing the same pair of socks, never washed, that we wore for every other game this season, still undefeated, although we did misplace one of them for the homecoming game, which led to the double-overtime, but thankfully we found it in time for that last-second field goal. Since then, we sleep with those socks under the pillow. Nothing like that is ever going to happen again even if we have to wear nose plugs for the rest of eternity.
We’ll be ready on the couch with remote in hand, a buffet of snacks and a cooler of beverages in place for the opening kick-off. Also, we’ll have the transistor radio with us so that we can turn off the TV sound and instead listen to the local guys who know and love the team as much as we do. And just in case, God forbid, we have a power outage like happened during the playoffs of 1987. Yes, we promise we won’t miss a second of the action, even if it means wearing Grandpa’s adult diapers to guarantee we don’t ever need to leave our seats except to stand and scream at the screen. In fact we’ll yell so loud when we win that the whole town will sound like a jet airplane taking off. Like a fleet of engines coming to a five-alarm fire. Like that Metallica concert we went to when we were teenagers and snuck down to the front row in front of the speakers and couldn’t hear for two weeks afterwards. And throughout the town there’ll be enough fireworks to make the Fourth of July seem like a pity party. We’ll be ready with hot chocolate (or champagne!) when you get home, no matter how late that is. We’ll be there to listen and chime in while you recap every play for the next 24 hours, or maybe for the rest of our lives.
Remember, you’ve done this thing a thousand times before and today will be no different. Just stay within yourself, and the team will take care of the rest. For now trust the system and stick with your pregame routine. Although certainly a little nap wouldn’t be a bad idea.