I am a huge football fan. A big reason for this was how I was raised – my dad was a high school football coach for nearly 30 years, and I have been going to games since I was a fetus. I remember being a kid and not wanting to be a cheerleader because they always faced away from the game. I remember a few exciting last-second wins and my mom and I waiting on the sidelines while my dad finished up interviews. Oddly one of my strongest memories was from when I was about 7 or 8. For one particular game, some guy sat in front of me in the stands. I never got a good look at his face, but saw the back of his head. He was balding, and I watched his entire head turn purple from anger. He sat alone. He screamed onto the field, as if someone could hear him and would throw the playbook to the ground to take his advice.
“RUN THE BALL THROUGH THE SEAM! RUN IT UP THE SEAM!”
“DAMN COACH DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING! PROTECT THE POCKET! PROTECT THE POCKET!”
“BLITZ! YOU NEED TO BLITZ MORE, YOU BUM!”
Between these brilliant suggestions for a high school team from the state known for its great football legacy – that’s right, Connecticut, bitches* – he had a mantra:
“IMPEACH THE COAAAACHHHH!!!! IMPEAAACHH THE COAAACCHHHH!!!”
Behind me of course, was my mom and a couple of the other coaches’ wives muttering under their breaths, “this is high school football, asshole; not the NFL” Not loud enough for him to hear, of course, but loud enough for me to hear and smirk.
“IMPEACH THE COACH!!!”
My mom looked frustrated and kept her eyes on the field while responding to me. She deadpanned, “It’s a word used by people who don’t know what they are talking about.”
“But what does it mean?”
Mom explained the definition to me. And that is how I learned what the word impeach meant. I kid you not – every time I hear that word now, I flash back to that jerk’s angry, purple-y bald dome screaming his rage towards the field.
Maybe it’s this memory that makes me grumble inside when I hear about fans booing their own team, like this past Sunday in Arizona. If you follow football at all, you know Arizona has a bit of a quarterback issue; long story short – the Cardinals paid a large price to acquire Kevin Kolb, who was beaten out for the starting position by John Skelton this year. Admittedly, on the field, Kolb didn’t look like the player fans hoped he would be. His passes lacked zip and accuracy and his decision-making looked poor. Skelton had similar problems, but he seemed far more patient and relaxed on the field. The offensive chemistry seemed to be better with him on the field.
In the first game of the season this past Sunday, Skelton went down with an ankle injury and had to be carted off. When they bring out the cart for you, that’s kind of a bad sign. Like, players start praying and shit. You could call the cart the You’re Fucked Wagon, because that’s usually what it means.
Anyway, Skelton was writhing in pain, he got YFWed [he’ll be okay – low ankle sprain]. So, anyway, you kind of need a quarterback on your team if you want to play this grand game known as football, yes? So who comes in? Kolb. And what do some fans do? They boo.
They freaking booed.
So let me ask you this – what kind of person boos the players on the team they are supposedly rooting for? I just don’t get this. Okay, if someone killed a man, raped someone or kicked puppies – yeah, fine; boo. Those are serious things. But booing someone because they didn’t have a good year? And booing them when they are replacing an injured player at a critical moment in the game? How exactly do you think this helps “your team?” Do you really think a coach rubs their chin and says to himself, “well gee, I guess that fan booing between drunken Miller Lite vomit attacks was right; let’s just fire the guy and throw away a few million dollars for no reason whatsoever. Boooo! Boooo!” Do you seriously want a coach who would listen to you and your stupid ideas? I sure as hell don’t want them listening to mine.
I’ll tell you who these Boo Birds are: they are the trolls on the internet. They are the random angry drunk bros who pick fights at 1 in the morning on the Vegas Strip because some other bro looked at them funny. They are the people who feel like the world owes them a favor. They are the people who belittled me when I waitressed at Friendly’s. They are men who sit by themselves at high school football games in Connecticut and scream from their perch. They don’t even have a “favorite team” – they have a vessel that keeps them angry, raging and indignant every Sunday. When you look at it that way, you kind of feel sad for them. Because this thing – this angry, booing, screamy, trolly thing? This is all they’ve got. This and bad, cheap beer. Tragedy.
And one ticket to Sucksville for them – Kolb kicked ass yesterday and won the game. That’s the best kind of “F-you” a person could give; remember that when you run into your own Boo Birds.
*I say this noting the exception of Greenwich High alum Steve Young. As a side note, Young had one loss his Senior year. That loss? My dad’s team. Not like that is a huge event in the grand scheme of things, but as a coach’s daughter, I always thought that was kinda cool.