Monday, August 31, 2009

Are you ready for some football?!




You are familiar with the stereotype – the beer-guzzling husband, abandoning his family responsibilities on the weekend, to watch 15000 hours of college and professional football from every sports package available from satellite. The tolerant wife, rolling her eyes, grumbling under her breath, “Honey, is it over yet…I need you to…,” (insert chore du jour here) “mow the lawn, rake the leaves, start the project I had planned for you last weekend.” Husband, in between rants and raves over a blown call by an official says, “Sweetie, the ball is on the 15 yard line and they are almost ready to score – I’ll be there in a minute. By the way, did you make any Queso?”

Welcome to our house on any given Saturday from September to November – minus the beer guzzling of course, and the fact that it is the wife using strategic delay tactics – usually involving the children (most likely feeding them) – while patient husband maintains order and continues functioning as a responsible parent. Yes, my fellow bloggers, I am football junkie.

I know, it is not suppose to happen this way. Women are supposed to be ambivalent about football, participating only in the party planning and that goes along with the games: the couples come over, the women gather in the kitchen, the men in front of the brand new plasma. Parties are forbidden in our home. They are a distraction to any important game, especially when there are two or three games on of particular interest. Guests get perturbed with the host is constantly trying to channel surf between them all. Me, I like to avoid the conflict.

I’ve always told my husband that he married every man’s dream woman – not the blond, bikini, super-model dream. But the woman who can tell you whether the linebackers are lined up ready to blitz; or the corners are playing “Cover 2,” or if the quarterback, on the option play, is more likely to keep the ball than to pitch it.

You know when the disease is bad when, prior to a family vacation, you scan all the forthcoming games and tape (in our case TiVo) the games that are of particular interest. By the time we have returned home, I already know the outcome, have seen most of the spectacular highlights on ESPN and have read every news commentary and analysis of the game. But I still sit down and watch it from start to finish (minus the commercials of course) as if it were live. Pathetic!

My illness began early. I was raised with football – it was a way of life: Dad was a football coach, brothers played high school and college ball, Mom was a coach’s wife – I knew nothing else. At the age of 8, I took a fellow third-grader to a brother’s high school football game. When she didn’t understand the basics of the game, I proceeded to enlighten her, “you get 4 downs to move the ball 10 yards. On the 4th down, if you haven’t moved 10 yards, you have two choices, punt the ball to the other team, or go for it. But you don’t want to do that if you are on your side of the field.” She looked at me confused and asked, “Do you want to go play under the bleachers?” “Nah,” I responded, “I can’t miss the next series of downs.” I guess that is where my delay tactics began.

Like any family “profession,” where children are expected to follow in their father’s footsteps, I always assumed I would be involved in football. And why not, I’ve been snapping the ball since I was three. It didn’t take me long to realize there aren’t many women playing or coaching football. My dreams were dashed. The closest I got to a life in football was while I was working in New York City. The NFL headquarters were at 280 Park Ave – I worked at 270 Park Ave just south of their building. Every day as I walked from the subway to my office I would stop and gaze at the “temple” of football, like a kid looking at a FAO Schwartz window and Christmas time. What was it like? Did you get to watch football 24 hours a day? Were the doors shaped like goal posts? I would never find out. Oh well, c’est la vie.

So instead, I’m an armchair quarterback like the rest on Monday morning. Complaining about the BCS system, the Heisman trophy candidates, and Bob Stoops’ coaching ability. But every Saturday, I raise my college banner outside my house, get the remote and ask, “Darling, is the Queso ready yet?”