When I lived in State College, PA, I hated football. I was a waitress at a place called Ye Olde College Diner and while I loved football weekends for the tips, I hated the actual game. It came with the territory: the more you hated football, the better a waiter you became.
Working football weekends was a difficult feat. You were groped by a drunk idiots, stiffed by an sore losers, trampled by packs of frat boys, and having to sit through all the alumni stories about how “I graduated from Penn State before you were even born!” was torturous. But I made a lot of money—and I mean A LOT of money—so I jumped at the chance to work a football weekend.
When I went to Penn State, the football team was at the top of its game. They were well on their way to what would later become a bowl game and tickets were considered paper gold. For those of us that didn’t give a damn about the game, we made a killing selling our student tickets. It was a win-win for everyone involved: I worked and served people their fried food, stickies and milkshakes for tips, at the same time they paid me top dollar for my student tickets. For this reason, I never once went to a game.
It’s a Saturday afternoon in November of 2009 and I’m 35-years-old. The TV is on in our small (but nice) New York City apartment. The sun beats in through the windows warming us on an otherwise crisp fall day. My husband of six years sits next to me on the couch tapping away on his laptop. Our son is asleep in the room next door. It’s been 12 years since I graduated from Penn State (12 years!), and about 14 since I worked at the Diner. And I’m waiting. But it’s not on tables this time.
I’m waiting for the game to start.