Monday, September 15, 2008

Football Burns Us, Precious

Here is my impression of football:

Players line up. Whistle! Scramble, scramble, scramble. DOGPILE! And repeat.

Then, once in a while, one guy or another kicks the ball really hard. Sometimes through that big pitchfork at the far end of the field. Sometimes not.

And then, refs come on and say something nonsensical about yards and make some hand gestures. A yellow handkerchief gets thrown around a lot. All the while, the clock ticks away so slowly you begin to wonder if time has ceased to move at all.

I realize that in saying that football makes no sense to me, I'm playing into the old "women just don't get sports" thing. But I get sports. I just don't understand football. Which is not to say that I haven't tried to understand. I've asked several people to explain it to me, men and women. But when I do that, their eyes glaze over, and they start to speak in gibberish.

"You see, there are these things called downs. And you have a certain frame of time to gain some yards. Then, everybody runs in a circle, crawls through a tunnel of fire, and we all eat cotton candy. Make sense?" To which I reply, "Sure, sure."

Also, I have the attention span of a Pop Tart, as I'm sure I've mentioned on numerous occasions, so the fact that the action happens in short spurts means that I always miss it because I am staring at the sky or wondering why everyone around me is jumping up and down. I hear cheering, I look, and by that time, the players are lining up for another go at it. It's nonsense, man. Nonsense...

I actually believe I got that elusive recessive gene that makes it impossible for me to enjoy or absorb any information surrounding the sport of football. My mom can just hear the opening notes of the Monday Night Football song and fall into a deep, deep sleep. Which is why she's not allowed to listen to anything by Hank Williams, Jr. while she's driving or near a hot stove.

My sister, on the other hand, got the dominant football-appreciation gene from my dad. My childhood was punctuated by the sounds of my dad clapping loudly and shouting, "HEY!" when something good happened in one of those end zone thingys. And somehow his enthusiasm got passed down to the rest of my siblings. But not me. Ho hum...

But since it's almost fall now, football is all the rage. And it's not just the professional stuff but college games as well. Your television is never taken over by college baseball, hockey, or fraternity drinking contests. So, what makes college football so special? Anybody?

So, this fall, let's focus on what really matters. Okay? Because we all know what's important during the fall season. Halloween candy. That's right.

No? Okay, you enjoy that game then. I'll just be over here eating peanut butter cups with the Great Pumpkin.


Thurmon A. said...

I'm with you -- I don't get it either. I mean, I understand most of the mechanics of the game, but it's the fascination (or the worship) of football that gets me.

Maybe you agree with me on this: Every other sport seems to be repetitive. football, basketball, and hockey especially. Must be that back-and-forth thing. That's why we love baseball so much. I'll stop before I rehash a George Carlin routine, but you get my point.

BTW, in my Bizzaro world, Charlie Brown always kicks the football. And every time, it lands right in Lucy's face. Two points.

Greta said...

Ah, yes. You have sports autism as well. I wondered for years, "what is wrong with me? I don't get it--I DON'T GET IT!" Then I was diagnosed as sports-autistic, meaning, of course, that I am unable to form an emotional connection with any sport. My family has been very patient and understanding, my dad at least. Mom is beginning to suspect that she had S.A. all along.

sigourneyfever said...

I don't like football, either. I never have. I also do not like football-centric foods for the most part, so I think that may have something to do with it. Nobody is going to convince me to sit through a game with promises of cocktail weenies and baked beans. It ain't gonna happen.

If football was associated with giant cookies and ice cream sundaes, I might reconsider.

I think one of the major reasons I don't care for football, though, is because I wasn't raised in a football home. NOBODY watched football in my house. We were a baseball family. That's where our sports-on-television and big game trip memories lie.

Sometimes I get really jealous of football people, because there seems to be such tradition and love there. And then I try to watch a game and I want to punch myself in the face. I guess everyone has their things, and football is not one of mine.

Halloween candy, though: now you're talkin'.

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@thurmon: You, sir, speak truth. Also, the big clump of people playing as a unit. It's a MESS! I like baseball because the focus is on one guy at a time. It's neat and organized to me. I get to know a certain player's style and swing. I know when he's slumping and I know when he's playing awesome. Whereas with football, I just see a big jumble of players all the time. I can't tell when good things happen. But with baseball, the result is obvious.

@greta: Clearly you have not been introduced properly to baseball. Come! I show you.

@sigourney: Sometimes I leave little winks at people in my posts. That candy reference was at you.

My football watching staple, when I need one, is beer. It makes the football bearable.

badenbaden said...

Picture it: South Jersey, late 80s and early-mid 90s. A badenbaden joins the Pop Warner cheerleading squad, which she thinks will nicely complement her dancing and gymnastics lessons. Only instead of doing either, she is now standing on the sidelines yelling "first and ten! do it again! go! go!" and having NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS.

The pom poms were glittery, though, which was fun. But yeah - 10 years cheering, and I still barely comprehend the game. But then, I am a diagnosed S.A., too (except for Olympic gymnastics, obvs.).

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@badenbaden: Picture THIS. The Mayor of Bethville, 1993. Wearing a band uniform and carrying a clarinet. Marching around and around the football field with murderous thoughts on her mind.

MsDirector said...

"Also, I have the attention span of a Pop Tart, as I'm sure I've mentioned on numerous occasions, so the fact that the action happens in short spurts means that I always miss it because I am staring at the sky or wondering why everyone around me is jumping up and down."

Funny, that's how I feel about baseball. HOCKEY FTW!!!


The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

msdirector: This friendship is OVER! I'm going to stomp off in a huff now. Don't try to stop me.

Biz said...

I enjoy football, for one reason, and one reason only. I GET SUNDAYS TO DO WHATEVER I WANT! My daughter and I line up fun things to do, lunch, chick flicks, etc. I am a football widow from September through January and absolutely love it!

My husband's happy because he loves football and I don't mind if he watches it all day long and we can do girly things and have fun!

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@biz: Oh. Totally. My mom took up arts and crafts during football season big time. I would check out huge piles of library books and hang out in my bedroom all day and read in order to avoid watching football.

angiesyounglover said...

ah, football. grosssss. my family is HUGE on it. my step-father is one of those jackasses that yells at the television, jumps out of his recliner, stomps around and yells WHADDYADOIN!???!! seriously. our "kids'" tv room was below the living room and we could always hear him up there, freaking out. sometimes we'd mute our tv to see if my mom and him were in a fight or something, as many times they were, but no, alas, he was just having a heated discussion with the Jets. you know, the usual. but sometimes, when it would get to be late fall, early winter, and we'd have our fireplace going, i'd sneak onto one of the couches and get warm and cozy and try to understand wtf was going on. but between the fire wood cracks and sizzles and the announcer's voice, i would doze off. superbowl parties are the best though - not because i give a fuck, but because of the FOOD.

also, i dated a football player my last two years of high school. he was captain, so i really couldn't get out of missing any of his games. so many friday nights wasted on cold bleachers watching little maroon men run this way and that when all i wanted to be doing was watching the girls play softball.

good post, invokes so many memories!

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@ayl: I cannot tell a lie. I yell at the TV during Yankees games.

But, to clarify, I also yell at the news, really bad sitcoms, and HGTV.

Girls softball, eh? Ooh la la... ;)

I always had odd taste in boys. If there were a giant nerd boy club at my high school, I would have watched the meeting with binoculars.

t.c. said...

No one in our household watched sports while I was growing up, so I didn't really attach to anything. Of my own volition and with no indoctrination, I've come to enjoy watching baseball, soccer, and tennis.

As for football, I got sucked into the Super Bowl thing as an excuse for getting together with friends over food and drink. We talk all during the game, and then pay attention to the commercials.

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@t.c.: You forgot to mention the international Wii hula hooping finals. A-thankyou.

t.c. said...

You are the undisputed champion of virtual hula.