According to Wikipedia, football is a sport that is played by kicking a ball with the foot across a field to score a goal. But according to the majority of Oklahomans, football is a sport lived vicariously through teams by fans for three to four months out of the year. This is so they can channel the aggression built up over the last 8 months onto 18 to 23-year-olds who can’t hear you shout obscenities and coaching tips and wouldn’t care even if they did. College football in Oklahoma contains enough rituals, mantras, and special underwear to be its own religion. In fact, I am sure even Jesus H. Christ himself would understand if you skipped Sunday mass because you got a little too honky-tonk the night before at Bedlam.
The point is that football season in this state can be overwhelming, especially if you are not as enthused about the sport as your neighbor Scott, a grown ass man who has the Sooner Schooner tattooed on his left calf. So for those of us who don’t keep up with the sport but are inevitably going to be dragged to a game by a drunk uncle, here are some tips to help you fit in.
Rule #1 Know the Difference Between Football and Football
First of all, it is important to know exactly what sport you are attending when your cousin asks you to go with her to a game. Oklahoma football involves grown men in tiny pants running into each other to protect an often smaller grown man holding an egg-shaped ball as he scurries across fake grass. Make sure this is the kind of game you’re attending and your cousin isn’t actually inviting you to her step-kid’s soccer game so she doesn’t have to deal with the other Edmond moms alone.
Rule #2 Wear the Correct Colors
Whenever the tickets are printed, they generally list both teams’ names. OSU versus Kansas State. OU versus Texas. If you don’t know which team you are supposed to be rooting for, just ask the person who invited you. Better yet, just borrow one of their shirts. Or else you may end up wearing burnt orange to Bedlam and both sides will want to kick your ass.
Rule #3 Tailgate
Despite the name, you do not actually have to be in possession of a pickup truck to engage in this activity. Just buy a case of Bud Light and pop open your trunk within a 2 mile radius of the stadium and you will soon find new friends to practice your trash talking with.
Rule #4 Learn to Trash Talk
Trash talking the other team is not only an attempt to lower the morale of the opposing side, but also to prove to the other fans you are loyal and still sober enough to form complete sentences. In order to trash talk properly, I have kindly supplied you with a basic formula that can provide you with nine different trash talking combinations.
Their (stupid/lazy/@*$#-ing) football team (make passes/tackles/runs) so badly that they (don’t stand a chance/will have a losing season/have shamed the Ghost of Barry Switzer past).
For example: “Their stupid football team makes passes so badly they don’t stand a chance.” Or “Their @*$#-ing football team tackles so baldy that they have shamed the Ghost of Barry Switzer Past.” See? This formula makes it easy for you to learn to trash talk.
Rule #5 Learn a Few Key Technical Terms
In order to trash talk properly, as well as make good conversation with fellow fans, it is important to learn key technical terminology. Here are a few definitions to start.
Touchdown-this is the act of taking the ball and carrying it to the other team’s side of the field. There is some running and traumatic brain injury along the way, but you get the point.
Pass-one man in tiny pants throws a ball to another man in tiny pants.
Punt-one team doesn’t get to do what it wants to do, so it gets mad and kicks the ball as far as it can from the other team.
Hopefully this helps you fake your way through the first quarter.
Rule #6 Don’t Stay Up-to-Date with Current Scientific Literature
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease found in many football players likely because of their high rates of trauma due to tackling. DO NOT TALK ABOUT THIS. Football for many Oklahomans is an escape from reality. Even if that reality is that corporations profit from severe, dementia-inducing head injuries.
Rule #7 Make an Offering to Bob Stoops
Bob Stoops was the University of Oklahoma football coach from 1999 until his retirement this year. During his 18-year tenure he experienced a 190-48 win record for the Sooners, which means his team won 79.8% of the time. That is the kind of win ratio we all need. This man is all but worshipped in Oklahoma football. Legend has it if you make an offering to Bob Stoops by burning a lock of Mike Gundy’s mullet, there is a 79.8% chance you will make it through the game without getting in a fist fight for your team’s honor.
Rule #8 Standby for the Marching Band
Even if after hours of liver sacrificing tailgating, 4-5 conversations under your belt practicing trash talking and using the proper terminology, and bonding with 30,000 people who only have your shirt color in common, you may still be bored. But at least you have the marching band at half time to look forward to. Everyone knows they are the real reason to go to the football game.
I still don’t update this like I should. Direct all questions, concerns, and whatever emoji-filled millennial stuff you feel the need to share to @squirrellygeek on twitter.