As I’m sure most of you know, it’s Super Bowl Sunday. And for those of you who know me well, you know that I’m not a particular fan of football. Now please don’t start sending me hate responses telling me how un-American I am. I like baseball, so there! Besides, football is played outdoors in miserable weather and I greatly dislike the cold.
Anyway, last Sunday’s comic strip, The Born Loser, had me laughing out loud, as it was so “me.” For those who missed it, Brutus and his wife, Gladys, are watching the Super Bowl.
Brutus says, “I’m glad you joined me. It’s so much nicer having someone to share the experience with.” Gladys says, “I’m glad I joined you, as well.”
Brutus replies, “So, you’re actually enjoying the Super Bowl?”
She says, “Absolutely! And I would enjoy it even more if they didn’t keep interrupting the entertaining commercials with the stupid football game!”
Now in my defense, I want you to know that I went to every football game in high school and in college. I had to. I was in the band. To me, that is what a football game is all about—the pregame and half-time shows, as well as the rousing pep songs when the team is taking a time out, which seems all the time. (This is particularly annoying when there are only two seconds left on the clock). The band, socializing, hitting up the snack bar, and hanging out with your friends are the whole purpose behind enduring a football game. I also went to most of the Lewis Middle School and Niceville High School games when my older son was in the band. Now I dutifully go to all the Rocky Bayou games to watch my other son, who is one the team’s hydration monitors (water boy) hustle out to re-hydrate the team. I cheer when the fans cheer. I chant with the cheerleaders. But the fact is, I have never really “gotten” how the game is played.
Yes, I get that the point of the game is to get the football past the other team, who is lined up and waiting to mightily injure you, so you can get it to the end of the field and score a touchdown. It doesn’t matter that you ruptured your ACL in the process. The only thing that matters are those six points. I guess that’s where the term “take one for the team” originated. But it’s such an arduous process. Unless one player manages to break away and run ninety yards to the goal line, the majority of the game is spent setting up the sides, hiking the ball, and playing for two seconds until the ref’s whistle blows. Football is the only game I know where it takes two hours to play five minutes. And let’s face it—it is just plain boring watching a game played in two second increments, minus the fifteen second adrenaline rush when one player runs ninety yards for a touchdown. To me, that fifteen seconds isn’t worth sitting on a hard, cold bleacher for four hours. My eyes are constantly drawn to the clock begging it to just count down and not stop every two seconds.
But after attending literally hundreds of football games, I made a concentrated effort to learn a little more about the game recently. Now I “get” the four attempts to move the ball ten yards. (I think). I used to just yell, “First in ten, do it again,” because everybody else was yelling it. I had no idea what it meant. Again, arduous process. I even learned (don’t laugh) that there are offensive and defensive players, and they don’t play at the same time. I thought they were all out there together. But that’s about it. Sometimes I hear a word I don’t understand, usually in connection with some infraction on the field when I didn’t see anything wrong, and I ask my husband what it means. His response is usually, “I don’t know.” Seriously? Isn’t football programmed into the Y chromosome?
Of course these are local school games, where it is normal to get into the spirit of rooting for your team (even if you secretly wish you were at home watching a Hallmark movie). Professional football is even more difficult for me to understand. Unlike their rabid fans, these players have no particular team loyalty. They play for whichever team offers them the most outrageous sum of money. They’ll even give up “taking a knee” if paid enough money. Apparently even standing up (or kneeling) for your beliefs can be bought. But this is America. Where else in the world can you dis the country that pays you millions of dollars? Pro-ball players can literally get away with anything, including murder (not naming names, here), as long as they can play football. Hopefully they are smart enough to sock their millions away when they’re young, because all their body parts will give out from years of abuse by age thirty.
Gosh, I really didn’t mean to rain on your Super Bowl parade. I’ve really tried to like the game, but I just can’t drum up the enthusiasm. I realize that makes me a pariah among the vast majority of the people in this area. So, please, just ignore me for the football-less freak I am, enjoy the game, and root for your choice of the Rams or the Patriots (for crying out loud can’t they ever give another team a chance at the big game)? See? I’m learning already!