On a miserable, rainy Friday night, I trudged out to cover a football game. Schools in our area are notorious for postponing football games in even moderate rainfall, so it was a bit of a surprise that one of the area's biggest games was still going on.
But on it went, and I made the drenching walk from my car to the press box, where I dropped my stuff and made my way to find a program. Because it's helpful to identify those players we write about, and my boss wouldn't much appreciate reading about how punter #26 was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
I struck up a conversation with a guy who had arrived as early as I did - which was early. Said he drove up from King George County, (we're in Prince William County) though I never bothered to ask why he drove up from King George County. He managed to pluck a seat in the front row, and while talking to him, I noticed a strange deal on the field.
I excused myself from the conversation and took a walk onto the field. Sure enough, something I'd never seen before in my life: Black yardlines. It sort of made sense, since the grass on the field was mostly yellow.
The home team's coach told me later that their Bermuda grass goes dormant when it gets cold and turns yellow. It was completely legal, since yardlines aren't required to be white, only contrasting to the field. Plus, this was their way of celebrating Homecoming.
I took a quick photo with my cell phone for posterity, thinking the dude at the Uniwatch blog might be interested in it. Sure enough, he was.
Fast forward a few days later. On Monday night, I'm covering a different game in a different corner of the county. One of our local teams is playing a league opponent from Shenandoah County (wow, I'm helpful with maps today, huh?).
Our local team is up by two touchdowns, and the visiting team's offense is frustrated by a solid performance by the home team's defense, which allowed 102 yards of total offense and forced five three-and-out series.
After one such series, for the second time in four days, I saw (or in this case, heard) something I've never ever seen before at a football game: Cheerleaders talking shit. To their own team.
"We're over here screaming our heads off and you guys aren't doing a thing out there!" one yelled.
A few seconds later after the ball was punted, most of the players on the sideline lingered near the original line of scrimmage.
"Hey guys," another yelled, "the ball's down there!"
And the crazy thing about all this? Just last week - before Friday night - I was thinking how it seems I never see anything different at a football game.
Guess I won't be thinking that this Thursday.