Sunday, October 14, 2007

So First and Ten is a Good Thing?

I was a cheerleader in college and never really understood the game of football. Yes, I was one of those idiot cheerleaders who would just yell and jump around and try to look pretty. I never was a very good cheerleader anyway. I didn't yell that loud...I didn't jump that high...and I wasn't even that pretty. I just loved the excitement of the game, the pageantry, the spectacle, the enthusiasm of the players, the friends, the families, the fans! I just loved to be there! But I never told anyone I had no clue what was going on. (picture: Far right with other silly cheerleaders, abt. 1978)

Oh, how I must apologize to our football team. I'm sorry I yelled "Defense! Deffense!" when I should have been yelling "Offense! Offense!" And I never really understood what it meant to yell "First and Ten, Do It Again, We Like it! We Like it!" I would just yell it when the others did. What did it mean?

Well, many years ago, my little sister Vanette and I attended a BYU homecoming game. We sat in the stands of Provo, Utah, freezing our rears off and sipping hot cocoa. As we sat there cheering for our beloved Cougars, I turned to my sister and asked, "What does First and Ten mean anyhow?" She looked at me, eyes wide and said, "You're kidding, right?" I said, "Actually no."

For the next hour my sister explained to me the game of football. She told me why I had been yelling Defense! Defense! at the times I should have been yelling Offense! Offense! And what the Quarterback does and what a Receiver is and what a Running Back is. What was a first down... what was a fumble...what was an interception. All terms I had heard before, but never understood. It was like a crash course in Football 101.

And she even told me that when our team had a first down with ten yards to go to get another first down...that was a really good thing! It was like a light bulb when on in my silly old cheerleader head. First and Ten is a Good Thing!!!

(picture: Far left-Vivian, always trying to look pretty, notice the future cheerleader pose. Second from right-Vanette, so cute! A huge football fan; a kind and very patient sister. abt 1965)

My dear sister Vanette has since left us. It was 13 years ago last week that she lost her battle with cancer. I learned many things from her in the 32 years that I knew her. But everytime I turn on the TV and see a football game, I think of her. Now I understand the game. Now I really enjoy it....

especially when we say "First and Ten, Do it again, We like it! We like it!"

(Picture: Vanette on right with her good friend Christine. They were missionaries together in 1984 in Louisiana. Notice my sister wore a fedora way before Britney Spears!)


Diane said...

I wonder how many of us cheerleaders never really understood the game?! I learned later on too and now really enjoy the game. Too bad they didn't require football 101 before we could cheer. You were a CUTE cheerleader!! Sisters are GREAT...I'm sure she's cheering for you! First and it again!

Kay said...

I enjoyed this post so much. The first part made me laugh, and the second brought tears to my eyes.