Beer, bets and fantasy — football culture on campus

It’s Monday night and the situation is a bit confusing. There’s a lot of noise coming from the floor above you, mostly men’s voices, screaming “Come on, let’s go!” and “Get me more beer.”

But isn’t that typical of a Tuesday night at the College?

Not anymore. Football season has begun.

With Sunday and Monday night games, as well as multiple Fantasy Football leagues, football culture at the College is taking off into a new season.

But why football? What is it about the game that diverts attention away from studies and into the world of competition, beer and pom-poms?

“It gives guys a reason to bond,” Brett Ziller, junior electrical engineering major, said, as he watched the Philadelphia Eagles. “They can let their emotions out during the game. And they can care about something without being considered unmanly.”

Whatever the reason, football games have a major impact on the way students spend their Sunday and Monday nights. Eagles, Giants and Jets fans alike gather together to enjoy the sport – and each other. From room parties to gathering at the Rathskeller (Rat) for a beer and the game, the sport has a definitive place in College culture.

“I had about 10 people over here to watch the game,” Jeremy Mitchell, junior business major, said of the first game of this season. “We watch all the games together and we play poker, too.”

For Mitchell and friends, not only is football season about the sport, but it’s about hanging out together as well. With the workload at the College, taking time out to get together with friends is a nice break. And what a better excuse to do it over than football?

“If we had beer, we would have done something,” Phil Warren, junior political science major said. “We would have had chips and dip and then just relaxed and watched the game. Especially the Monday night game.”

The Rat aids with study breaks too, as Monday night football always makes the big screen.

“Monday nights are the game,” Warren said. “It’s just tradition. Plus John Madden commentates. He’s the best.”

Mitchell and his group of friends also went to the Rat for the first Monday night game, and probably will do so for the rest of the season.

But simply watching the games on TV is not enough for some fans. Especially not with the wide range of Fantasy Football hosts to choose from.

Whether it’s Yahoo! or ESPN online, fans can create teams and rosters with the click of a mouse. They can then compete against a league of friends who have created a similar virtual team.

“There are 10 people in my league,” Mitchell said. “We had a draft online before the season started and we get points for different categories. I know a lot of other people that are in leagues too.”

With fantasy’s growing popularity, anyone can come up with a team for the sport of their choice – even hockey. The virtual team has become popular for a number of different reasons.

“You feel more involved in the games,” Mitchell said. “You have a favorite team that you want to win, but then you are also rooting for individual players on different teams.”

Warren joined a Fantasy Football league with 12 of his friends for a similar reason. “It’s fun competition and it’s bragging rights as well,” he said. “I can root for players, not just a team, so it’s like a hobby.”

So there’s fantasy leagues, parties and lots of competition. But where are the ladies? Not counting the cheerleaders, most women at the College tend to have a different attitude towards the game.

When Mitchell and his friends get together, his girlfriend, junior elementary education and psychology major Jennifer Lloyd, merely “stops by.” Mitchell thinks it’s because she is just “not interested” in the game.

“It’s good he has his ‘guy time,'” Lloyd said. “But I’m not really interested in football. I don’t follow the games or anything.”

Lloyd feels that there are a fair amount of women who are interested, but “the majority isn’t.”

Kristen Begosh, junior psychology major, isn’t a part of Lloyd’s majority. “I love watching football,” Begosh said. “My roommate and I used to fight over whether we would watch the Giants or Eagles games on Sunday afternoons.”

However, Begosh said that she only watches “the big games.” Other times she keeps the game on in the room while she gets some work done, but said that she would watch with others if she had time.

No matter who watches, it is extremely likely that Monday night noise can be attributed to the Giants, Jets or Eagles.