By Jeff Solari
Hi. My name is Jeff. And I’m a football snob. It’s true. When it comes to the pigskin, I’m a spoiled brat.
There are a couple of causes behind my affliction. As a fan and a member of the media I’ve been fortunate enough to attend numerous Patriots games. Watching the Pats in person with occasional behind the scenes access is pretty darn cool.
But that’s just the beginning. While living in Alabama I got hooked on a drug known as college football. It was all innocent in the beginning when one warm and sunny Saturday I made the drive through the woods and swamps from Mobile to Tuscaloosa. As I walked into Bryant Denny Stadium and witnessed 80,000 people singing “Sweet Home Alabama” in perfect harmony, I knew I was officially under the spell of big boy college football.
A year later I moved to Oklahoma just in time for the 2000 National Title season. That undefeated high included being at OU for the tearing down of the goal posts as the Sooners beat Nebraska to become #1 for the first time in years.
Since then I’ve consumed games at Texas, Clemson, LSU and Oklahoma State to name a few. The tailgating; the pageantry; the spirit and yes the partying on game day! I’m addicted!
From Brady to Bevo, I’ve seen the big time, which makes it hard for me enjoy local football here in my home state. (I told you I was snooty.) I cheer for UMaine and appreciate the program for what it’s accomplished over time, but I rarely attend games in Orono.
I had not been to a local high school game in more than seven years. Until Friday night.
My Mount Desert Island Trojans earned their first ever #1 seed and hosted mighty Winslow for the Northern Maine Class “C” Final. No denying my blatant jump onto the bandwagon, or Trojan horse if you will. I struck out for the Island on a cold, blustery night to cheer on my alma mater.
It was some of the most fun I’ve had this year! Seriously I know it would be hard to give the night a bad review since MDI won its first regional title in school history, but it was more than that.
My football ego was brought back to Earth as I walked through the gates, engulfed in the delicious smell of the snack shack. I instantly ran into friends and former school mates, one after another. High School football is a community bonding experience that’s hard to achieve with 80,000 other people at a big time venue.
I was amongst generations of graduates, island residents and current students all mingling, talking, and shivering together in support of the hometown team. For some it’s a weekly occurrence, but for others like me or my high school buddy who came back from Massachusetts for the game, it’s a bonus class reunion.
After MDI clinched a win that been building up since 1968, I watched the kids storm the field and the adults cheer form the sidelines and bleachers. We were all frozen together like human popsicles but warmed from the inside with small town pride.
Hi. My name is Jeff. I’m still a football snob. But I’m getting better. I’ll take step two of my treatment program this week when I join hundreds of Trojan faithful who will make the trek south to Portland to see the Trojans first state game. After that, who knows?
Jeff Solari (@SolariJeff) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.