Well, you've really done it now. You've managed to create such a frenzy surrounding tonight's game that the school had to order three buses to carry all of the students who voluntarily signed up to ride on bench seats at a 90 degree angle for three hours just to cheer you on. You've earned so many wins this season that the local stores have sold out of anything containing the colors maroon and white. You've made your parents so crazy with pride that they painted plywood footballs with your numbers on them and stuck them in the grass in front of the school. Do you realize your parents committed vandalism, a misdemeanor, in your honor?! You've even caused rational business owners to cover their downtown storefronts with paint and posters and messages of luck and encouragement. Your normally reserved teachers were so out of their minds today in anticipation of the big event, that they left their afternoon professional development in order to stand outside and hoot and holler and sing the fight song as you got on the bus. They cheered the fact that you got on a bus...let that level of fan dedication sink in. You've made my son ask me the same two questions every Friday afternoon for the last 12 weeks: 1. Are we going to the game tonight?, and 2. When do I get to play football for the Bucks? Do you realize what you've done? You've infected an entire community with an incurable disease, a contagion that has swept through its citizenry like a fever. What is this strange affliction you are responsible for? I believe the clinical term is Buck Madness.
The external symptoms of Buck Madness are easy to spot. They include an overabundance of maroon clothing, possession of cowbells or confetti cannons, red palms that are sore from insane amounts of clapping, the capital letter 'B' drawn on a cheek or a forehead, and a collection of rubber wrist bands inscribed with statements like, "Buckstrong" or "Battle on Bucks" or "The Herd." It is also an affliction with varying degrees of severity. The more spirit beads around the neck, the worse the case. Those victims who create compilation outfits containing items from past events (bandanas, towels, buttons, etc.) are lost cases and resistant to any treatment, don't even try to save them. And, this is very important and crucial for your survival, if you see a woman with Buck antlers and her own personal megaphone, run for your life--her name is Mrs. Cornwell and she is patient zero. Any direct contact with her (eye-contact counts) will result in the immediate transfer of Buck Madness.
The internal symptoms are a bit more difficult to identify. They include heightened levels of excitement and adrenaline, an intense desire to crush any opponents, and an overwhelming urge to win. Hearts that once beat at a normal pace now quicken with the anticipation of kickoff. Brains that once thought of snuggling up in front of a warm fire with a good book on a Friday night now dismiss that rational idea and opt instead for seven layers of sweaters, three pairs of wool socks, Carhartt overalls, a stocking cap and a football field in thirty degree weather.
The trademark symptom of Buck Madness, however, is an overwhelming sense of pride. This feeling manifests itself in the strangest of ways. I've seen six year olds shout out "We Are The Herd" at official school gatherings while their principal sits idly by. Do you believe the principal doesn't even reprimand the kid? The opposite happens - she just claps! It's madness I tell you, madness! I've heard stories of fans lining up on downtown streets to yell out at buses as they pass. I've been told tales of fathers getting out their own scrapbooks and old varsity coats to show their sons the long history of madness that has impacted their families for decades. Do you want to know the most disturbing thing I've heard? Apparently the blood running through the members of this community isn't red...it's maroon.
So, I just wanted to write you boys a note to reprimand you for creating all of this craziness and causing Buck Madness to spread through our ranks. I'm afraid there is no cure for this plague of pride, no antidote for this disease of the deer. I hope you're happy. Because we all are....and it's all your fault.
Your Biggest Fans and a Proud Community
(P.S. Fear the Deer)