Hissy Fit - October 2021 - What Football Game?

...because everyone needs one every once in awhile


October 2021
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen 

They say America runs on Dunkin’, and I wish it were true.
But it seems more and more that America runs on over-stimulation.
Whether you believe “less is more”, “enough is enough” or
“too much is not enough,” I’m here to say I experienced too much,
and it’s time to realize enough is enough
because in many cases, less is more.

I was lucky to travel down to Jacksonville in August for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns pre-season football game. It was my first NFL game, and I had a great time. Getting out of town occasionally resets my mind and rejuvenates my energy. Sometimes a change of scenery is just the cure for a case of the mundanes. I went with a bunch of friends, we went to a crowded energy-filled sports bar for pre-game cold beers and then headed to the stadium.

People were excited to be back in the football season saddle and ready to cheer on their team. Enthusiasm was pulsating through the crowd. Though I was there with all “Brownies,” I was excited to see both Trevor Lawrence (This year’s No. 1 NFL draft pick and former Clemson superstar quarterback) and Tim Tebow. What I didn’t know about pre-season games, is almost all players on the team play for a quarter each. Pre-season is more about seeing what each player brings to the game, than winning. Basically, the coach is test-driving his players.

Pre-game action featured the Jacksonville Jaguars D-Line, a drum line that rocked it. Then the show was handed over to The ROAR, which is the Jags Cheerleading and Dance Squad, comprised of 32 gorgeous and talented women. When the show was over, it was time for football, and the teams ran out on the field. There was only one problem; the show never ended. The football game was more about entertainment than football. Obviously, the entertainment department did not get the memo. Someone there was, indeed, marching to the mantra “too much is not enough.”

At the end of every single play the music would blare immediately. So much so, the refs’ calls were inaudible. For a moment, I blamed it on my age—“Gee Elizabeth, you’re getting old and fuddy.” But I like loud music! I even like some rap. Hell, I knew the words to most of the songs. I just do not like it when it’s crammed into my ears in order for there not to be one second of chill. Seriously, humans do not have to be constantly entertained, stimulated and juiced, no matter what today’s mega-screen-technology-in-your-face-look-at-me screams at us.

Speaking of which, the Jumbotron screen at the Jaguar’s stadium is so huge and so vibrant and so active, I stared at it as though it had hypnotized me and was demanding me to take it to my leader. At times, I would glance towards the field—mainly by accident, or just out of need to move my neck—and remember I was at a live football game.

My children both played sports, and I am one of those fans who love to love the game. Each sport has its own symphony of sounds, such as sneakers screeching on a basketball court, or a football ref making a penalty call and the boos of the crowd. These are the sounds of tradition, sounds that don’t change with the times. These are the sounds that make memories vivid, not all the loud hoopla acting like a child throwing a temper tantrum to get attention.

I have to admit I don’t get out much, so you may not be as surprised as I was about what I’m going to tell you next. There were two swimming pools. In the stadium. That you could see the game from. How did I know this? Well, duh, the Jumbotron! Suddenly, the screen went to girls in bikinis splashing around in a pool. My brain didn’t compute at first, but I could see stadium stuff in the picture. Sure enough, I tore my eyes from the screen and started to scan the stadium, which did help to relieve my neck stiffness. Not in one, but in two corner bends were swimming pools with glass walls facing toward the field. “So, what are you going to do tonight?” Well, I’m going to the Jaguars game to swim.” Perhaps this makes sense to you.

Here’s part two: “And, I’m taking my dog with me.” That’s right. Corner number three had a dog park. I know this for sure because I was watching the Jumbotron, and they showed the dogs playing in the stadium dog park with front row seats to the game. I’m talking about the dogs, not people. My father was born in 1927 and passed away 13 years ago this month. If I could talk to him again, I would love to ask him if we could take our dog to the football game with us. (I just have to rest at that thought because I’m cracking up with tears in my eyes.)

By the time the game was over, everyone in attendance had been jolted with technology, sound, beats, lights, swimmers, dogs, advertisements, dancers—oh, and football— close to 60,000 times. (I did the math) Believe me. I was looking to that fourth corner of the stadium for relief, like a meditation retreat center or something, because I needed a moment.
When we finally got in the car to leave, no one turned on the music. No one talked. No one even breathed loud. Not even the teenagers. We had just had a giant lesson in Economics of Overload 101, and I’m here to say we will never forget this: Less is more; enough is enough; and well, too much is just plain too much.