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Football Letters: First game

A new fan’s perspective on an actual football game.

Miami Spring Game Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Dear Friend,

I’ve been learning loads since I wrote to you last. Football is so interesting. To watch I mean. I’m not sure yet if I would ever want to play it.

Others think so too, because I went to a game last week and there were tons of people there! Everyone cheers really well and it gets loud.

Anyway, the game. It’s way better than practice! The first thing that stuck out is teams only where two jerseys, one on each team. The red jerseys the quarterbacks wear in practice are nowhere to be found, isn’t that a bit funny? And the other team can tackle them too! That really helps the defense in stopping the offense I noticed.

It’s really weird to see two different clocks in the game. And before you ask it, neither of them tell the actual time. One starts at 15 minutes to signify one of the four quarters and it stops when the play stops. Well sometimes. Other times it keeps running even when players are standing in a circle. I’m still learning why. There’s there’s this other clock that only runs in between players and you have to run a play before the clock moves from 25 to 0. That one seems to make more sense, or is at least straightforward on how it works.

Another thing that was different was people in black and white striped shirts who stood around while the players played. I guess they were kind of in charge, because they had whistles and threw yellow flags around on the field when something happened that they didn’t like. They had the powers to stop the game and make the players move back away from the end of the field. Let me tell you, there was a lot they didn’t like in this game. At least 20 times they threw a yellow flag! Players and coaches got mad at them too but they couldn’t do anything about it.

I did notice that practice does help with the games. They would practice the same play over and over and not always be so good at it. When the game comes, they run the play really well. So practice does help for games. I don’t know if the coaches are happy about this. They should be but they always seem to be yelling. Sometimes it looked like a more happy yell but their voices are loud. Also, all the coaches were headsets, I guess to talk to each other even when they are in different places on the side of the field. It’s interesting.

I still think football isn’t the right name because it barely describes what they do. Some players do come on the field to kick but it’s always at different times. They kick to start the game and the second half. They try to kick the ball through these yellow polls after they score, and also sometimes when they can’t score a touchdown in the end zone. Then they kick to the other team after they score a touchdown and get a bonus point if they make it through the yellow polls. But the weirdest thing is when one team has the ball and after a few plays just kicks it to the other team so they can have the ball. It makes no sense. I don’t know if the offensive players get tired or don’t think they can score, but they bring a kicker onto the field and the defense puts a player really far back and then they kick it to him.

Despite the confusion, it was so much fun! I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks. The next few weeks are away games, which means the team is playing in another team’s stadium. So every team’s fans can see their teams a few times a year.