Blue Devil Confessions: An Exchange Student’s First American Football Game

Enjoying the game from the cheering section. 
From left to right Caroline Ejby Bjornvig, Sarah Potter, and Lindsey Arseneau

Caroline Ejby Bjornvig

Enjoying the game from the cheering section. From left to right Caroline Ejby Bjornvig, Sarah Potter, and Lindsey Arseneau

Caroline Ejby Bjornvig, Reporter

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of a series by The Devil’s Advocate. Blue Devil Confessions will bring to you the unique and nontraditional perspectives of students, by the students.

Traveling to another country is exciting. Doing it on your own however, is a tiny bit terrifying. When I chose to go abroad for an exchange year in America, I knew that it would be a challenge. But what made me willing to leave my family and friends for a year, was the experiences I knew I would gain. The perspectives, the cultural understanding and the knowledge, but most of all the fun, and in America, that fun is centered around school spirit. 

I went to my first ever American football game on Saturday the 17th of September. Something I had dreamt of doing since I booked my flight over the Atlantic Ocean. On my way to the Blue Devils home field at Doyle Field, the games were broadcasted on the radio. My host father even stated that you will be able to find them on live TV!

My first thought was “This is a high school game?” quickly followed by the realization of me actually going to that specific school, being talked about in my car. 

The experience was all I ever wanted it to be. I knew it would be good from the minute I heard the marching band playing and the cheerleaders cheering in the halls of LHS during 7th period. Everyone in school dressed in the same shade of blue, all for the same purpose. As I got to the game in the evening, it was very easy to spot the student section of the crowd. People dressed up in construction vests – the theme for the evening – blue “Leominster Blue Devils” jerseys, glitter on the cheeks and huge smiles on every face. Everyone was united in a euphoria of the “Friday Night Lights” game. 

Before the game the Leominster High Dance Club, followed by the cheerleaders and marching band, got the mood going. It was when the National Anthem started playing that I really felt overwhelmed by the support and hype of the football team. Coming from a country where sports is not connected to the schools, this was such a refreshing experience. It was a way for everyone at the school, no matter cliques or age, to get together and enjoy the same thing. 

Now, I know very little about the game, but I know three things. The goal is called a touchdown, people act like wild animals trying to get the ball, and there are always cheerleaders. I would soon find out that a lot of people did not even follow the game. Some were even facing the opposite way trying to talk to classmates. So, my limited knowledge did not stop me from having fun. I simply cheered when others did and echoed the Blue Devil and Lady Blue Devil mascots when meant to.

It is very easy to get into, and when you have a whole snack and beverage bar at the field, it is not hard to become very busy. 

What I found the most interesting was the fact that everyone was so nice to me. I would make my way through the crowd of yellow and orange dressed students, and people would randomly talk to me. Some people I knew from classes and others I did not know at all.

It was such a different vibe from walking the halls in school. It felt like the pressure of grades, college, and friends had vanished for those two hours, and instead everyone cheered on the same guys running around on a field trying to catch a weird oval-shaped ball.

Communities really do happen in strange ways sometimes. But what really sent the experience over the edge was the moment everyone started kneeling – players, fans, parents, coaches – when a player was hurt. No matter what you were doing, you stopped for just a second to kneel, and didn’t get up until the player did, and if they were okay, it was followed by a standing ovation.

An absolutely beautiful moment. 

After the game, I went out for ice cream with my friends, to no other place than the Dairy Queen, which I had never heard of before coming here, by the way. And while sitting there, in an American fast-food restaurant with dozens of flavors of so-called blizzards and everything fried, I truly felt like I had created a memory that I would hold close to me for the rest of my life.

Enjoying the game from the cheering section.
From left to right, LHS Seniors Caroline Ejby Bjornvig, Sarah Potter, and Lindsey Arseneau (Caroline Ejby Bjornvig)
The LHS cheerleaders lead the crowd. Photo by Caroline Ejby Bjornvig
Left to Right LHS Seniors Grace Albert and Sage Charpentier were just 2 of the hundreds of students enjoying the game. Photo by Caroline Ejby Bjornvig