It starts early in elementary school, likely first grade. Weeknights are a frenzy of practices preparing for gameday. Kickoff is followed by touchdowns, tackles and penalties. Some walk away winners, others in defeat. Whether win or lose, teammates gather at the concession stand for post-game fuel and camaraderie. Snacks that are off-limits during the week can be counted on for game day. A slushy frozen treat and a walking taco bring friends together.
During middle school, weeknights become even more hurried with the pressures of additional homework. Practices become more intense as kids vie for a starting position. Yet, game day traditions continue. Teammates gather with friends post-game at the concession stand. Now, it may be a special can of forbidden soda to wash down the loaded tray of nachos that teammates share.
High school brings yet another transition. Yet, the time honored tradition of meeting at the concession stand continues. As the American Anthem signals the start of the game, lines form for mid-game snacks. Friday night lights bring fans, both young and old, to watch their favorite players. Sometimes, they bear witness to great plays, other times devastating injury. Post-game, student athletes devour loaded nachos with a couple of chili dogs. The hard work of the season demands a lot of calories.
College brings an entirely new face to game day. Football is king on many campuses. Fall is marked by tailgates and block parties. Fraternities and Sororities sport school colors and the school mascot parades about the stadium. Kids who were athletes for twelve years become spectators. Yet, the game day foods that bring back memories of their youth remain the same. Friends are brought together by nachos, chili dogs and giant pretzels to share.
Sometime during college, another transition begins, as teenagers become young adults. Friends and family gather at the local bar for game day. The meeting may no longer occur on the field, but the time honored tradition of sharing game day snacks continues. The nachos become heartier, the pretzels gourmet and soda is replaced by hard seltzer. Whether grade school, high school or college, it’s always 4th and nachos for the win!