On the Sideline

Posted Sept. 26, 2011, at 11:04 p.m.

On a recent late summer night, campus cliques and other supporting cast surround a central Maine gridiron as electric cauldrons of molten cheese and hot chocolate reach critical mass.

The whistle blows, a pigskin is launched and the devotees, most swathed in their flannel, blankets, hoodies or pajamas, anxiously watch their padded, bandaged warriors perform on the plastic grass arena. The roar of a purple-clad marching band punctuates their shouts and grunts and the resultant cacophony rises well above pom-poms, silly hats and moth-lamp haze.

There are 48 minutes — give or take — for all of this: for the punts, the passes, the stolen glances, the high notes and the low — all executed with the hope of victory song.