Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Here We Go: 5 Things We Love About Football Season

“I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits – and millions of Americans agree with me”, Hunter S. Thompson.

Millions of Americans also agree that football is a “staple of life” and we think Thompson would concur as he has been quoted as calling autumn “…the football months.” So in the spirit of Gonzo, autumn, football, and the love of weed (now legal in 25 states, with nine more states voting today), I invited a gaggle of friends to trek up to the blustery, wind whipping, Northern tip of Manhattan to enjoy a football game at Columbia University’s “Robert K. Kraft Field” in Inwood. There, we hollered a lot and found five things that we love about the football season with which we think you’ll agree.

Football Fashion

Photo by Robert Galinsky
Photo by Robert Galinsky

Football fashion happily coincides with the least complicated season to look good in: Autumn, where anyone from stoner to sophisticate can be a fall model. The cold temperatures are perfect for light layers, thick turtlenecks and vintage varsity pullovers that create a fashion mash up you can showcase in front of thousands of fans. The swirling, scorched, psychedelic sienna colors of autumn are the perfect 3-D runway for bulky sweaters, knit scarves, and slouchy hats. And when the inevitable spinning deep red-brown, bright banana yellow and fluorescent orange leaves cling to your clothes, everything has fallen into place, and creates a point scoring fashion statement that lands you in the win column.

Columbia University is a Cannabis Campus

Photo by Flickr user Mike Steele
Photo by Flickr user Mike Steele

After watching the Yale Bulldogs trounce the Lions of Columbia one Friday night (31-23), I realized that fans and fanatics need relief from watching a perennially losing team (Columbia once went 47 games in a row without winning a football game). Sitting in the 17,000-seat stadium I noticed a number of spirited students, very high up in the nose-bleed seats, continuing a long-held tradition of smokers therapy, dating back to Jack Kerouac’s time at the school (FYI, Kerouac earned football scholarships from Notre Dame, Boston College, and Columbia and chose Columbia for it’s New York literary cache). A study by a Columbia University student, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in February of 2016, has found that “cannabis use was not associated with increased risk for developing mood or anxiety disorders.” Good news for the Ivy League scholars in attendance and proving, “you get high with a little help from your friends.” Friends who are dedicated to these important studies and research, apparently.

Fall Football Food Rocks


The definition of the word “munch” is “to chew with steady or vigorous working of the jaws, often audibly,” and it has it’s origins in a number of places. From the Old French mangier “to eat or bite,” to the Latin word “to chew,” to the 20th century American “munch,” first attested in popular culture in 1971 with, “craving for food after smoking marijuana.” So when we go to the game and get the multiples of munch — the munchies — we either dig into the traditional stadium concession, bum rush a tailgate grill or pack our own mega-munchie-menu.

A hunger that blazes can easily be satisfied with a variety of hot pretzels, spicy salty sweet beer nuts, all kinds of hot dogs: dirty-water dogs, fried dogs, flame grilled dogs and dogs stacked with everything from champagne Dijon mustard, to beef chili, to mayonnaise, cheese and peanut butter. All of it is acceptable in the feast of football. It is also suggested, in order to save money on beer and soda, to imbibe in some delicious smuggled scotch fresh from the pant leg. I prefer a flask of Talisker 18-Year-Old, a favorite single malt whiskey that fits nicely on the inner thigh. As soon as the game is over, you can go home and warm up with a mug of hot cocoa or apple cider, and if you’re already home, just turn away from the TV and fade into a coma of culinary bloated bliss.

Yelling Without Reservation


There are few times in life when one gets to yell at the top of their lungs in public and not get negative feedback. A football game is one of those special times/places where losing your voice due to outrageous vocalizations is not only acceptable, but smiled upon. There is a unique joy when you yell at the players, coaches, cheerleaders (or with the cheerleaders) and no one yells back! And for those who stay home to watch the game, screaming and yelling at the game on TV is also perceived as appropriate and inspired behavior, and again, no one yells back! Also it’s healthy. Yes, yelling promotes one of society’s newest catchwords and fads: “mindfulness.” This kind of howling nurtures expression, reduces stress, promotes resiliency, and as long as you are “responding” and not “reacting,” you’ll be doing your mental health many favors. After all is said, or bellowed, and done… get to a game and roaaaaaaaaaaarrrr! It’s good for you.

NFL Players Are Investing in Reefer Madness


In the past decade the NFL’s most outspoken proponent of marijuana usage is Ricky Williams, who credits his steady spliff intake for preserving his health and helping him avoid prescription painkiller addictions as well. Now current and past NFL players are investing in cannabis pain-management research to replace the infinite rainbow of pills they’re given in training rooms. It’s estimated 70 to 90 percent of NFL players who use painkillers during their career go on to abuse them. I laud these players for attempting to normalize cannabis in pro sports and as they assert themselves, I think of these words spoken by gridiron legend Vince Lombardi, “Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness… is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” Legalizing cannabis during “football months” and beyond is certainly a “goal that is worthwhile.” Thanks Vince.


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