What’s So Great About Football?


Sabine Gabaron

As Pioneer High School’s marching band trumpeted the fight song, the varsity football team charged onto the field.

With just over a minute left until halftime, the Pioneer High School (PHS) marching band stood on the sidelines, waiting to perform. PHS had yet to score a single point, and it was looking to be another devastating loss. Nobody expected anything more of our football team, who’d won just one game all season. Yet, just as the scoreboard clock ticked to fifteen seconds, a miracle occurred:

Pioneer scored a touchdown.

In the middle of PHS’s 150-person-strong band, crouching on the turf, it was strangely quiet. For a moment, no one believed what had happened. Then, chaos. The band flew through the fight song—something they hadn’t gotten to do all season, save for pregame performances. The stands thundered with applause. The disbelief of the moment rings clear in my memory. Scoring points? Us? No way.

During the third quarter, when the band gets to eat, Pioneer scored a second touchdown. Unable to play our instruments with mouths full of food, we scream-sang the fight song. Nobody knew the words, just the tune – our sheet music was lyricless – but it didn’t matter to us. We were just happy to have that small success at the last home game of the season.

Looking back, it feels strange. Our football team, who only won one game all season, scored a singular touchdown and the crowd went wild. Our swim teams – men’s and women’s – won meet after meet, went to states and excelled, but the only people watching those meets were family and friends of the athletes. Why should football get funding for cheerleaders and marching bands when they barely score points? Why do the sports that actually do well go unnoticed by most of the school?

Maybe people don’t watch football for the game at all. In a fifth-hour French class at Pioneer, the majority of students who go to football games said they went to hang out with their friends or to watch the band perform.

So, why do people get so excited about one or two touchdowns? Because it’s entertaining. And who knows – maybe the swim teams would get a bigger audience if they had a swimming band.