I am pretty sure it’s Super Bowl weekend. In South Florida there seems to be a lot of Pittsburgh fans, and the only other team I am hearing about is the Green Bay Packers so I guess that's who they're playing.
OK, I’m admitting my shame. I am coming out of the closet and confessing my deepest darkest secret. I am one of the three or four remaining Americans who does not watch, appreciate, or understand football. I believe I may be football-challenged. In my case, I seem to be missing the part of the brain, the corpus footballus, the section that values grown men chasing an oblong piece of pigskin around a field. I just don’t get the point of the game.
I realize most people do not comprehend this Football Disability I’ve been born with. Football enthusiasts tailgate, paint their faces, and sport foam fingers. They wear ball caps or unusual head coverings shaped like various foods, like cheese wedges, and animals. They are decorated with t-shirts, flags and banners. They drink beer, they celebrate, they party long into the night.
They know the stats of each player, they know the names of the players on their teams, and they follow their career progress like private detectives.
They laugh, they cry. They gloat, they sulk. They scream in anger, they sink down in despair. They rejoice and they revel. They dance and they pound on the bleachers. The entire range of human emotion is packed into one football game. As for me, is confusion considered to be an emotion?
For me, watching a football game is like trying to figure out an especially complex and difficult magic trick. In the couple of games I have attended, I can never locate the frickin’ ball. I have studied the huddle of players intently, they all scatter this way and that way, and that’s all she wrote. I can’t figure out which player I am supposed to be following.
“Where’s the ball?” I will ask of the friend next to me.
“What do you mean? It’s right there. The quarterback has it and…”
Everyone but me is on their feet cheering. My friend Teri is annoyed that she missed the play because she was trying to point out the ball to me.
In three more minutes I ask again, “Where’s the ball?”
“Shut up, Jeanne!” is her terse reply. “Watch the game.”
I can say this with certainty; wherever my eyes are, the action is somewhere else.
Eventually I stop worrying about the ball and focus on a player called the Tight End. I know how he got his name. Wow! Nice Ass, Mr. Tight End.
But the rest just all seems so pointless. These men are putting their lives in mortal danger to get their hands on that stupid ball. They clash and bash together in a giant player pile o’ body parts. The fans become silent, wondering if anyone is hurt. Then the mashed player on the bottom of the pile, staggers to his feet and waves at the crowd. Although he may have lost many of his IQ points in that battering, the fans scream and encourage him to do it all over again. Doesn’t that strike anyone else as odd?
So it seems that I shall live my life as an outsider, never really understanding the greatness and wonder of football. Just buy me a hot dog and a soda and let me sit and take it all in. I’ll get up and yell when everyone around me yells and I’ll become excited through osmosis as the spirit is passed on to me. And I’ll keep my eyeballs focused on Mr. Tight End.