Like no other game, football joins partisan spectators and players in a gigantic empathy—of anxiety in conflict, joy in victory, momentary sorrow in defeat. It is a game in which whoever cares is as deeply involved as the 22 brightly caparisoned combatants on the field. For instance...
One snowy Saturday afternoon at Princeton's Palmer Stadium back in 1935, a young Dartmouth undergraduate in a raccoon coat leaped from the stands and lined up with his college team in a desperate goal-line stand against the onrushing Tigers. The snow was thick and, before the officials spotted Dartmouth's "12th man," he had momentarily helped to halt the Princeton drive. This kind of chauvinism—this deep personal identification with the fortunes of one's team—grips the entire country during autumn. Not everyone, of course, reacts as violently as the young man of Dartmouth, but there are few who do not in some way exhibit their intense devotion to the weekend cause. The girl on the opposite page proclaims her loyalty with a blue and white scarf provided by her escort. Turn the page and see the faces of the pretty young cheerleaders reflect the exultation that comes with success. On these and the following pages the camera has caught in color the tension and pleasure and action and fulfillment that characterize countless Saturday afternoons in a thousand places.
The fresh enthusiasm of romantic youth plus the deep devotion of the old returning grad form the background for football
Bright young bodies move through intricate drills against the color-splashed panoply of the stands to ornament the pageant
For the actors on center stage and in the wings, Football, U.S.A. is a place of nerves stretched tight by the strain of winning, or of playing well, or of feeling defeat
Now the ball is snapped and, quickly, the battle is joined. The lines move in a sudden, thudding charge, and the backs are away, running
Now the battle is ended and the rewards of victory include the pride of parents, the admiration of the girl and memories trapped in a picture