The Amish and Football

amish football
Amish boys play football near Georgetown, Pennsylvania

Reader Michelle V recently asked: do Amish play football?

Well, here’s a bit of evidence that they do, courtesy of Rick Harrison, who took the above photo at the 2009 mud sale at Georgetown in Lancaster County.

While football is not as popular as softball or volleyball, the ole pigskin does get tossed around, especially by Amish boys.

Interest in the sport varies.  Some don’t care much for the game itself.  Some Amish don’t approve of sports in general, or at least not adult involvement in them.  I think reader Kerry might have a point when he writes that “it is generally considered too violent by the Amish, although I know many who love to watch and you will sometimes see the younger fellows hanging around the field fence on Friday nights watching.”

For that matter, you do find fans of the professional game.  The extreme popularity of the NFL (described by sports author Mark Yost as “the most successful sports league on the planet”) reaches into Amish society as well.

While spending a summer at Arthur, Illinois, I learned that local Amish tend to back either the Chicago Bears or St. Louis Rams.  In his book Growing Up Amish: The Teenage Years, Richard Stevick describes the room of a 19-year-old Amish youth.  Walls covered with photos of Pittsburgh Steelers players and numerous Steelers hats and a jacket revealed the young man’s loyalties.  “Such a room would be extremely rare in a small or conservative settlement or affiliation, however,” Stevick notes.  A couple of years ago, an ESPN reporter wrote a story on Amish Philadelphia Eagles fans in Lancaster County, which he didn’t have much trouble finding, at least among the youth.

No telling how many will be following this weekend’s NFL playoff games.

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    1. Marcus I didn’t know or maybe forgot you’d mentioned you had ancestry in Somerset County. That is an interesting place in terms of Amish history. I’ve been reading up on it lately. There is just one community there today, but at one point there were 3.

    2. Michelle V

      Good Morning-
      Alice the book written about Ed Gringrich(?) is “Crimson Stain”. If you visit the web site Mission to the Amish People you’ll find more info. I live about 45 mins. away from Pinecraft and visit often. I’ll check on the fudge for you. Speaking of FL …. Gasparilla is coming up AARRRR

      Well, I’m off to pick up my Nana for our Sunday visit. I will check back soon!

      Erik soccer is BIG here in FL and I watched the World Cup as well. I guess you can say I love all sports but I’m no Tom Boy! 🙂
      Go Jets !
      Michelle V

    3. Michelle V

      OOpps I ment Marilyn sorry I’m in a hurry!

    4. Marilyn in New York

      Hi Michelle,
      Thank you so much for your help.

      I remember Gasparilla in St. Petersburg. I never went there for that. The traffic was so bad-I stayed out of town. LOL

      I would love to taste that goats milk fudge again. It’s been about 40 years since I tasted it last, but I can still remember it. Hmmmmmm.

      Marilyn in New York

    5. Richard

      good sunday morning everyone….. hello michelle, i notice you live near pinecraft, very cool. i moved from florida to penn in late sept. theres a book about pinecraft writen by noah gingerich, he passed away around 5 years ago. i have the book somewhere since i didnt un-pack everything just yet, you know how that goes,lol. and i had met him from reading his scribes in the budget, so i went to his house and he told me at that time he wanted to write a book, that was i think the early 1990s. when i find that cook, i really have to read it, im bad sometimes like that.i used to get the budget every week for a few years during the early part to the middle of the 1990s. i found alot of info by just reading some post, and i even got my name posted by a few people which i really got a kick out of. well ill be on here and there today, checking back, hope everyone has a great day in amish america……… Richard, lebanon,pa

    6. Richard

      spelling error….. cook should be book, sorry folks i must have food on my mind…….. Richard, lebanon,pa

    7. Richard

      ive posted a few more topics incase anyone is interested. ill be back here alittle later folks….. Richard.………..

    8. Marilyn in New York

      Hello Richard,
      I tried to leave comments on Amish Storys again and it won’t take them, again. This time I push post and a tiny red square lights up. Anyway I think Witness is the best Amish movie. I know there are Amish mistakes in it. Of course Harrison Ford being my favorite actor doesn’t hurt any. LOL
      Marilyn in New York

    9. Marilyn in New York

      Hi Richard,
      I even tried to make another comment on Alternative Medicine and I can’t get on.

      Does anyone ever call your Dick? My brother’s best friend is named Richard and we have always called him Dick. My brother and he have been friends for many, many years and I guess when I was little I couldn’t say Richard, but I managed Dick. After that we always called him Dick, even now years later. So if I forget and call you Dick, now you will know why. I will try not to, though.

      Marilyn in New York

    10. Richard

      has anyone ever called me dick,well no one that has lived to tell about it maybe,lol. im kidding.i think i was maybe working on it when you tried marilyn, ill look at it again, otherwise you should be able to post, ill check it right now because id like to read what you have to say…………. im off to check…….. Richard, lebanon,pa

    11. Richard

      ok marilyn….. i tried posting a comment myself, when you see that red dot, it wants you to review what your posting, so hit the review button, then the post button and you should be trying to make it easy to post, you shouldnt have to jump through hoops like this. i also checked all the setting again, right now i have none of those numbers that you have to punch in so the site can tell your human, i might get more spam doing it this way, but thats the price ill pay just to make it as easy as i can.i did a few other things to make it fairly easy, all my protection is disabled. i hope this helps, and maybe i should post directions to post after each topic that i make up. …….. thanks for trying marilyn, and i hope this helps, dont give-up on me,lol………. Richard. from the amish community of lebanon,pa

    12. Marilyn in New York

      Hello Richard,
      I got on !!!!! I put my comments on movies and again in alternative medicine. I have you on my favorites list so all I have to do is push and I am there. I hope people give comments on the restaurants. The only times I have been in Pennsylvania I have my friends give me a quick Amish tour, past their houses-didn’t stop anywhere. I did find a lady who sold baked goods by the road and bought some of her goodies when I was out on my own. Anyway, they took me to a restaurant with a big Amish name. I couldn’t wait to get some of that Amish cooking. My friends had been in the restaurant many time. Well it wasn’t Amish cooking. It was American cooking, which I enjoyed, but it was not the Amish cooking I was expecting. Not an Amish person in the place. So if I go to the Lancaster area again, like I hope to I would like some REAL Amish restaurants to go to.
      Marilyn in New York

    13. Richard

      hey marilyn…… im glad you made it, i thought i had lost you there for a min,lol. I also put on the blog instructions on how to post, i hope this helps folks to comment. i do recommend the restaurant that i posted, it really is very good trust me. and thank you for hanging in there and posting. and remember, ya’ll come see me now, ya here….lol…… Richard. lebanon,pa

    14. Marilyn in New York

      Hi Richard,
      I know how to put stuff on to sell, take stuff off and come to Amish places-after that I am computer dumb. LOL I will go to Amish Storys and mark that restaurant down. My friend and her husband live in Denver, Pa. I hope the next time I come to Lancaster area I can stay at their house. I am going to invite myself. LOL They are not Amish. Her and I went to High School together many years ago. LOL
      Marilyn in New York

    15. Marilyn in New York

      Hi Richard,
      Where is Dutch-way Restaurant? You don’t have to twist my arm to eat in a restaurant either.
      Thank you,

    16. Richard

      there are 2 Dutch-way restaurants, and both are in lebanon county, the next county up from lancaster. and like myself, they are in the southern part of the county, just on the edge of lancaster.i know of alot more good places, you have to understand that ive been coming to this area since i was a child, so i know where some of the good places are.i might not know all of them though, which is why i started that topic on the blog. shady maple is one that i keep hearing about yet ive never gone there before.feel free to e-mail me and ill give you some that i think are worth trying when your down in lancaster.

      1. Barbara Libengood


        I have been to Shady Maple in East Earl and was not impressed. I think the best buffet in Lancaster County is Yoders in New Holland. A lot of our Amish friends eat there. Dienners on RT 30 is Amish owned, or was when we lived there. When I think of Amish cooking, I think of the kind of meals my grandmother made with ingredients from the garden and farm. Amish meals consist of lots of fresh veggies, potatoes and noodles, some sort of meat, bread and several desserts. I had the best pot pie and vegetable soup at several friends’ homes. The veggie soup was served on paper plates as we sat and stood around the hat wagon. I watched the children crush up crackers and pour the soup over it. That’s what we did and it was delicious.

    17. Richard

      good night everyone, and i look foward to seeing what Erik has instore for us on monday………. Richard. lebanon,pa

    18. Rick

      As Erik correctly surmised, the pic is from the 3/7/09 Bart sale. My usual lodging choice is the Motel 6 on Rt 30, but I do not go to Lancaster during tourist season. I would guess you would not have any trouble staying wherever you choose – except for the sales, there’s no real reason for there to be many tourists at that time of the year. I went to the Bart sale in 08 & 09, also the Rawlinsville sale in 08 (it’s now split into 2 sales I believe). I have usually gotten there (Bart) early enough (6ish) that I could park close by, though there are shuttles for parking lots a mile or so away I guess. The sales are an unforgettable experiece – highly recommended.

    19. Marilyn in New York

      Thank you Richard, have a nice evening. I will have to go to those sales, too. Would like to go when the tourists aren’t there, too. I would like to go to some real Amish shops, too.
      Marilyn in New York

    20. Marilyn, Richard and anyone else,
      We just ate at the Shady Maple last month in New Holland, it was a wonderful buffet, great tasting food and appeared to be run by a Mennonite group. I don’t think you’ll find “real” Amish owning a “real” restaurant. If you come to Mifflin County, in the Big Valley, you’ll find hardly any tourists and some real Amish shops in their homes. Our Amish here are unique and really old order. Check us out! A local website of Big Valley businessmen is at where you’ll find some interesting information on the Amish who reside here. For a really realistic movie, I think “Harvest of Fire” starring Patty Duke, a Hallmark Movie, depicts the Amish the best. It’s based on a true story when we had 5 barns burn here back around 1992.

    21. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Erik, I think the man did wear a beard. I think both men did. I remember the older gentleman’s white beard more clearly, but the dark haired fellow with the baseball cap probably did have one too. In that instance, whoever it was he seemed to have quite the sense of humour.

    22. Eli

      Marilyn, Ed had it in writing from his bishop that he could not be forgiven. I doubted the story, so I questioned a New Order Amish person familiar with Ed about this. He confirmed this to me.

    23. Marilyn in New York

      Hello Eli,
      Thank you for telling me. It really shocks me, I know Thou shalt not kill is one of the ten commandments, but I thought the Amish forgave all. I guess not in this case.
      Marilyn in New York

    24. Richard

      hey folks….ill pop on here later, i have a new topic today, you might find it interesting.…………. have a great day everyone. Richard. lebanon,pa

    25. Alice Aber

      Greetings everyone!!

      Just wanted to pop in and say hello. I have been quite busy with tasks around the house and errands the last couple of days. But my busy season is just starting to gear up. I will be starting to build up inventory for my ceramics and crafts business. That will keep me pretty busy as making quality ceramics takes a while, LOL.

      Also, its time to start seeds for the garden so I will nursing the little darlings into plants, LOL.

      I’ll still be around to put my two cents in, just not quite as often, LOL.

      Hope everyone is well!
      Blessings, Alice

    26. Richard

      hey Erik…. had alittle trouble getting back on this topic pretty much the whole day. glad to see they are worked-out. and now we are able to get on.Richard. lebanon,pa

    27. Hi Richard, there shouldn’t have been any problem with the site, but glad you were able to get back on. And Alice best wishes as business cranks up.

      Shom sounds pretty bold for what I assume to be a married man to put on a baseball cap in public, but I guess stranger things have happened!

    28. Eli if that’s the case it sounds like the bishop might have issues too. Granted what Gingerich did was absolutely horrible but saying that someone can’t be forgiven goes against the core of Amish Christian belief. Not something you’d expect an Amish person to say, much less write down. Unless, I suppose, you’re trying to keep someone away from you by all means possible.

    29. Alice Aber

      Thanks Erik,, I am getting anxious to get busy again.

      Richard that is strange as I was in and out all day and had no problems at all.

      Blessings, Alice

    30. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Erik; I saw the exchange from a distance and I don’t know what was said or whither or not he bought it for someone else, or tried it on for a non-Amish friend, or if they sold caps near were he was standing and tried on as a joke, I don’t know. I didn’t think of it being a married man. It just made me laugh.

    31. Reader

      I have a buddy at school who wants to join the Amish Church, once he graduates from high school. When he said this to me at first, I thought that he was only trying to make me giggle! He was not! He was entirely serious, and I thought that he had gone insane! How to the Amish view non-European races? Are there any instances that any person can think of where the Amish can be considered to be racist(s)? Also, if, say, a Latino dude like my buddy were to want to join them, how would they react to that idea?

    32. Lauren Futch - North Carolina

      When I was visiting some Amish family in Lancaster last summer, I was able to attend a Sunday evening youth gathering. On a couple of the youth buggies, I noticed Philadelphia Eagle decals. One was placed right in the center of the orange reflector.

    33. Junior Wells


      I do find a lot of amish in new york like clymer ,,and also in millersburg ohio they are pretty big into football even met amish guy who gets the nfl digest delivered to his house every week …Just thought i would share…i have been to over 80 settlements in ny,oh,pa and all seem to like football but not as much as baseball

      1. Thanks for sharing Junior, interesting. I believe I have seen more football “fandom” than other sports. Although I think it varies with some sports standing out more in certain regions – at least considering what people play – like hockey in Lancaster, and basketball in Indiana.

    34. sports

      i’ve really noticed a big change also in the love for basketball they get more excited about playing that now than baseball in my area caught on fast