I know, I know, it’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I should probably be doing something traditional like wearing an oversized jersey of one of the teams (which I don’t own), or buying potato chips and beer (which I’m allergic to – the beer, that is).
So what better way to mark this time honored tradition of men jumping on each other in the name of sport than to talk about my tempestuous relationship with the game of football and really, all team sports in general.
I’ll admit that most of my enjoyment of team sporting events is derived from watching other people’s excitement about it. Observing grown men and women yelling and screaming and carrying on about the fumble or the touchdown or whatever it is just fascinates me to no end. (Me, I do the same thing when watching political debates, which I think makes my case for politics being sport, but I digress.)
So my cousin Jill came along, a lifelong avid football fan and former pro athlete, and bless her heart, she tried to explain to me not only the basic premise of the game, but its finer points of strategy and skill and team interdependency, blah, blah, blah. I made the snacks. Actually, if memory serves me correctly, it might have even been during one of these football games with her that I discovered my weird beer allergy.
Anyway, I tried to get into the whole football thing. Tried to understand it, appreciate it, even, but no luck. I just don’t care. I feel no kinship whatsoever to bulked up men who are clearly willing to inflict permanent brain injury on themselves and each other. Tough way to earn a living, when I think about it…which I can still do, because unlike the aforementioned football players, I have managed to avoid blunt force trauma to the head.
During half-time, Jill introduced me to the actual football itself – how to properly hold it, throw it, and how to catch it. We’d go outside and toss it around. I even enjoyed it. Of course, no one was trying to intercept, so my only challenge was resisting my urge to dodge the flying object hurling towards me instead of catching it. Still seems counterintuitive to me.
One day it occurred to me that the only names of football players I know are Joe Namath, the Manning brothers, and anyone who’s ever appeared on Dancing with the Stars. Add to that stellar lineup the guy who prays, the guy who took pictures of himself, and the one who was the subject of the movie The Blind Side and you’ve got the sum total of my football player knowledge. (And thanks to Google, that’s Tim Tebow, Brett Favre, and Michael Oher.)
So I took my mad football playing skills out for a spin one day at a family reunion in the D.C. area. Fortunately for me, most of my family shows as much athletic prowess as I do, so when I caught a pass, it looked like I was a football playing goddess.
Unfortunately, during the next go around on the field, my brother nearly took off my pinky, putting a swift end to my illustrious but brief football playing career. I even had to ice my hand. Doesn’t that prove you’re a real athlete when you have to ice something afterwards? (Don’t burst my bubble. This is the story I’m going with.)
So I’m back to being a spectator again, and when I say “spectator,” I mean I watch the Super Bowl. And when I say, “I watch the Super Bowl,” I mean I flip back and forth between that and the Puppy Bowl on the Animal Planet channel, because who doesn’t love puppies?! No one, that’s who.
So I’ll be (sort of) watching the big game, agreeing enthusiastically with whatever anyone says about any of it, because, truth be told, I still don’t really get it. And I’ll be thankful when it’s over and I don’t have to be inundated with anymore ads for Doritos and Coke, both of which contain (and this is pure conjecture on my part) not one morsel of any ingredient resembling or emanating from actual food.
Best of luck to the 49’ers and the Ravens. (Come on, you’ve got to at least be a little impressed that I know who’s playing.)
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