For some it is the day of the week during the time of the year to look forward to most. You have tailgating, the buzz of the parking lot and the smell of charcoal filling the air. Parking spaces are turned into small communities that thrive on the anticipation of the coming game. There is food and drink galore, mostly homemade comfort foods. The place is a sea of team-colored apparel, jerseys displaying a favorite player or a nickname. The stadium is ready to erupt with the collective cheers of the masses or deflate with their joined sighs. This is game day.
The bars are filled. Most of the patrons wear the same uniforms as the parking lot crowds. The cheers are almost as loud, the sighs just as deep. The food is of the wings and beer kind. There are TVs everywhere, enough to watch the game and some of the more important rivalries. A betting man could keep track of nearly every score without leaving his place at the bar. The beer flows and the party doesn't end until the final whistle of the final game televised for the day. It is a day-long escape from any other care in the world.
The final bastion of team support, the living room. A place where folks take pride in their homemade BBQ sauces and spinach dips. Friends and family gather to scream at the screen and taunt one another for team allegiances. It is more intimate setting. The menu more personal. The beverage choice more direct and dedicated. The jerseys are still worn, the cheers still loud, the sighs still collective, but the barbs are far more pointed. It is a weekly party planned for all week, for seventeen weeks, with hopes of continuing the planning into the playoffs.
In my neck of the woods, game day is slightly more sedate. It includes buzzing through the chores a little earlier, filling the lungs with fresh, crisp air. We still don jerseys. We still fill the air with tasty aromas of comfort foods by the pot-full. We plan all week and shop for months readying the menu. Homemade salsas and chilies, artisans cheeses from local farms, fresh made bread, wine bought from a local winery, personally selected craft beer (or two, maybe three) and seasonal desserts created by little hands adorn the table. Sometimes there is a heated discussion over the value of a player. Sometimes our bodies sink a little too deep into the couch, engulfed by pillows and blankets and quiet snores. Halftime finds us walking the woods in an attempt to clear our heads and eyes of the encroaching grogginess and make room in our bellies for further indulgence. If the flakes are flying, a crackling fire in the fireplace will accompany the game, as will thoughts of how many sick days I have remaining.
It is game day. Different everywhere but still the same. An escape from the week as a new week begins. A day of community and camaraderie and getting together with friends. It is game day.