Get excited for football

In hibernation since 1941, the Mercer University Bears will soon resume their place on the field of intercollegiate football against Reinhardt University on the last Saturday in August.

Some may say, “So what? Who cares if the Bears now have a football team? I don’t know the first thing about football nor do I remotely see what the hype is about.” Let’s dig deeper, shall we, to find that all the excitement is for a legitimate reason.

Even if you don’t understand the rules of football, you probably realize football is a uniquely American pastime and a means of entertainment for millions each fall.

Personally, I have never been the one to be a tummy-painted football fanatic. In high school, I always had to ask my friends simple questions about which goal was ours or how a first down had any significance, but when the clock was in its final seconds and all your team needs is one more touchdown, the game can become intense. You start to yell louder for your team to Go! Fight! Win! as if your cheering singlehandedly helps push the guy with the ball further towards the in zone.

Besides the excitement during the game, tailgating before the game will be loads of fun for everyone. Local businesses downtown have agreed to allow students to tailgate off-campus. Grilling and chilling with friends on the weekend always seems like a good way to spend time outside of the academic world. Plus, with local businesses involved, football will bring the community closer together.

With the surrounding community growing closer by the minute, Mercer spirit is going to spread like wildfire, especially if we start winning. If we end up winning more games than people probably expect us to (so more than two or three), our little school is going to be on the map of awesomeness! Not only having stellar academics but also a great sports program makes Mercer more attractive on all fronts.

According to Mercer’s webpage of historical football facts, Mercer played against the University of Georgia in the face-off considered to be the first collegiate football game ever played in the state, so we are a part of the revival of a historically significant team. All the history majors should be smiling at their own contribution to sports legend.

On another positive note, ticket sales bring in revenue for the school – and, next year, Mercer will be in the Southern Conference, joining teams like Samford, the Citadel, Georgia Southern, and Furman. This will open up opportunities and exposure to other schools that Mercer has previously not had the luxury of knowing.

Football is a step in the right direction for all the people that call Mercer and/or Macon home. Every student at Mercer is witnessing a massive shift within the culture of the University. We are beginning new traditions and are cheering for a team that has been nonexistent for 70 years. Like an actual bear that sleeps in a cave all winter, the Bears are waking up and will hopefully be stronger, mightier, and more ferocious than ever before.