by Michelle Schmidt for Inland 360Football is not just a game. It is part of our national identity, and often, our personal identity. It is something to gather around, something to fight about, something to anticipate or dread.
And when it comes to the Super Bowl, fan or not, it’s an excuse to eat a lot of junk food with our friends.
In anticipation of the big game, we meet up with four locals — male and female, fan and not-fan — to find out what’s to love and not love about the sport of football.
360: When it comes to football, are you a fan…or not a fan?
Melanie Sheppard, female, Lewiston: I’m a super-fan. Which means I don’t like any other team except my team, the Saints. Anyone who is a super-fan is the same way. They have a bad day when their team loses.
Keri Cox, male, Clarkston: I don’t consider myself a fan. I couldn’t even name the NFL teams – it is called the NFL, right?
Kirk Stedman, male, Lewiston: I’m a football fan. I’m not into basketball or baseball, I’m really just a football fan, a Chicago Bears fan.
Sherry Dubberly, female, Clarkston: No. I’m not a fan. My late husband, he was a fan.
360: What do you love — or hate — about the game?
Sheppard: I love everything. I love big plays. I love getting together with friends and family for the game; it’s more fun. But the party has to run itself because when the game is on, it’s all about the game.
Cox: I don’t dislike the game, I just never have gotten into it. I do enjoy watching a good football game, but I don’t paint my body and I don’t have a cheese hat. I’m more of a baseball fan.
Stedman: I enjoy the competition. And I enjoy the history of it. It’s just something that they don’t have anywhere else in the world. It’s unique to us. It’s our game, our teams.
Dubberly: For my husband, everything revolved around football. We couldn’t do anything on a Sunday because there was football. So yes, there was some resentment. I tried the first year of our marriage. I just didn’t get it. The players are so padded, they’ve got their helmets and I couldn’t see their faces. I couldn’t memorize what number goes with what player. But I tried.
360: What do you love — or hate — about football season?
Sheppard: When it starts to be fall, and you get that nip in the air, I call that football season. Because there’s two seasons: football season and the off season.
Stedman: I like the Monday night games. There’s one game and the whole country is watching it. That Monday night game extends the weekend, it makes a three-day weekend of it. And when the season’s over, it’s a big let down.
Dubberly: Football season was a little irritating. But my husband was a sweetheart about not caring if I sat by with him to watch the game. So I always did a lot more sewing during football season.
360: What is the ideal way to spend the Super Bowl? Do you have any traditions?
Sheppard: The Super Bowl is always a big deal, but honestly, it doesn’t matter who wins. As far as traditions, you have to have hot wings. Chips and Rotel with Velveeta cheese. And when the Saints are in the Super Bowl — which is not that often — we like to make Louisiana food, red beans and rice and that.
Cox: A lot of times I don’t even know the Super Bowl is happening. If had a choice between watching the Super Bowl or doing something else that came up, I’d probably go do something else. Sure, I’ll go to a party, but there’s got to be friends and food.
Stedman: For probably about 20 years, we’ve had about 50 friends come over. It’s mainly a social event. And we have all these games going on for it. One of them is our Quarter Game. You sign up for the Quarter Game when you arrive and you go through a rotation where each person holds the Quarter can for a play. If you’re holding the can and there’s no score, you put a quarter in and pass it on to the next person in the rotation. Then whoever is holding it when there’s a score, they get to keep what’s in the can.
We also have our preseason barbecue. We put the names of all 32 teams in a hat and everyone pulls a team name out and that’s your team for the season and if your team wins, you get a prize, usually a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
Dubberly: The game won’t be on here. I just go to church and come home and read or watch something else on TV. Anything but football.
360: Are there any influencing factors on being a fan or not a fan? Did you come from a football family?
Sheppard: I’m from the South, so it’s a way of life down there. I don’t think people understand until they go down there and see. The high school games in the South are like college games here. When it was game day, my dad would get the smaller TV from the other room and stack it on the other TV and that’s how we’d watch them.
Cox: I didn’t grow up in a football family. In high school, I was a music guy, so I’d go to football games to play in the band or because friends had invited me.
Stedman: We played out at Lapwai, before there were state playoffs or anything. My brothers all played football. We didn’t have a TV until 1967. It was Lapwai culture to be on the team, every boy in the school got to suit up.
Dubberly: We really weren’t a football family, which is funny because I had four brothers. If my brothers had been football players, then I think that would’ve made a difference for me.
Schmidt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.