1) There are too many damned rules.
I don't understand the rules of football. I never have. I probably never will. Because there are too damned many of them. I've had football-watching boyfriends. I've even had football-watching husband(s), and there were weak moments brought on by initial infatuation which would find me curled up on the couch during Super Bowl season and legitimately saying things like, "So...why did that guy get a flag?" and "Okay, now how do you score a point?" No man ever silently thought, "Aw...isn't that cute? My girl doesn't know jack-shit about football." I'm pretty sure, if they could get past the point that I was interrupting a game with girl-chat, they were wondering how long term a relationship could really be if we couldn't even enjoy a football game together. And perhaps we could have. If I could just wrap my head around all the damned rules. I swear, for every rule that was explained to me, 10 more followed. It makes me think men (and some women, to be fair) are all on the autism spectrum with some type of football savant. Listening to a guy explain football rules is one step shy of listening to Dustin Hoffman, as Rainman, rattle off Judge Wapner tv listings. It's just...freaky.
2) Football has weird-ass words that piss me off.
Line of scrimmage. Scrimmage. Scrimmage. Just saying scrimmage makes me crabby. And what the hell is it? As far as I can tell, it's always moving. And sometimes, on tv, it's a glowing yellow line that dudes run through. "Is it really yellow on the field?" I asked. Seemed like a legitimate question. Now I know asking that question was akin to my gay friend asking if the sticky strips on a sanitary napkin didn't hurt when it was pulled off. Pure ignorance. With good intentions. I get it.
"Well, see, the line of scrimmage has (something to do with and here's where I zone out and then I come back in when I hear these words:) a down. See?" A what? A "down." The word "down" makes me think of this:
which just makes me think of those football guys in those shiny Olivia Newton John "Let's Get Physical" kind of outfits ("uniforms," I'm told they're called) and I picture these guys hopping up and down on a down comforter like this and swatting each other with pillows and feathers are flying and helmets are clashing and I can't tell if it's some kind of weirdo gay love scene or just really, really funny.
Either way, I don't get the down thing. I know there are four of them. At least, I think there are four of them. And they move. Or maybe they don't. But I know everybody wants some.
3. The "Are you fucking kidding me?" factor.
I googled "football terminology" and found the Glossary of American Football on Wikipedia. Okay, I think, Wikipedia speaks to the common folk. I think I can get a handle on things here.
The first few things I read have my head spinning faster than a pigskin (a totally grody term) snapped out of the hand of that one football player who has all of the crazy hair. I think he might wear gold and black and white. And his name is something like Mele Kalikimaka or some other Hawaiian Christmas song. Anyway, I'm reading about 3-5-5 defense, 3-4 defense, 4-3 defense, 4-4-4 defense, 46 defense, 50 defense and I'm starting to get that I'm pissed and I'm about to throw my computer feeling. Which is what football does to me. It makes me feel like an angry, angry idiot.
Here's a little "think aloud" of my reading of the A-11 offense. My thoughts appear in red italics.
- A-11 offense Offense? I'm already offended. Isn't A-11 a steak sauce?
- An offensive philosophy I'll say. designed to appear as if all 11 players are eligible receivers That sounds gay to me. . The offense exploits a loophole in the American football rulebook to technically make the formation a scrimmage kick , Seriously. What the fuck did I just read? Who's exploiting whose loophole and what the hell is scrimmage doing showing up in here? and the offensive line is spread across the field I have no idea what you're talking about, but I'm about to spread someone across the field. Ew. That also sounds dirty. Damn it. Football is so dirty, no wonder all the guys like it., all wearing numbers of eligible receivers 1-800-gay-love, in an effort to confuse and deceive the defense. I'm confused and possibly deceived right now, and I didn't need anyone to kick me in my scrimmage to make that happen. It was banned in 2009. Well, it's about fucking time. It was probably banned because no one understood it.
4. Terms that I get, but it just seems like too many for one sport.
Quit hogging all of the terms, football. I get your holding (also a little gay sounding) and end zones (gay) and punting and spiking. I even get your fumbling and two-point conversions. Your spikes make sense and interceptions don't seem like a tricky concept to understand. Tackles are the clusterfucks I see that make whistles blow and dudes high five each other or start drinking heavily. All that makes sense. But, seriously. That's too much. Too, too much. Then, add all of the scrimmages and receivers and kickers and defensive so-and-so's and quarterbacks and linemen and it's like we have a cast for CATS out there. For crying out loud.
5. Are you ready for some FOOT-BAAAAAAAALL?
Well it's Monday night, a new week has begun
I turn on my tv for some pigskin fun
I see a Super Bowl season here on ABC
The biggest game each week is their...specialty
I gotta get ready, make everything right
Cause Monday night football's comin' on tonight
Are you ready? Are you ready?
Are you ready, ready?
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
A MONDAY NIGHT PARTY?
I'm really happy if all your rowdy friends are comin' over tonight, Hank Williams, Jr. But, I can't say how much I want to punch you in the pigskins for getting what may be one of the worst songs in American television history stuck in my head on a yearly basis. Not only do I sing it anytime I'm having a friend over (i.e. "All my rowdy friends are comin' over tonight!"), but each time football season rolls around, I can't help but asking people if they're ready for some football. And then I turn into Hank Williams Jr. And that's neither pretty nor good for my social life. I blame American football. And you, Hank Williams Jr.
WITH ALL OF THAT SAID....
There are a few football-related things that have slipped their way into the "like" category in my head. For example, I find few things as entertaining as having you give me the name of a city and seeing if I can come up with the NFL team name. I'm not kidding. It's a skill I developed in my first marriage while trying to pass the time when a game was on. "Give me another!" I'd shout. "Okay...New York," he'd say. "Aha! You try to trick me! JETS! AND GIANTS! Another! Another!" I can play this game for hours. No joke. Try me sometime.
And, I seem to like the Eagles. And the Vikings. The Eagles, mostly because my great-uncle Joe lives in Philadelphia, has a wildly bizarre east-coast accent, and thinks fondly of his "Iggles," and it's somehow rubbed off on me. I will cheer for them in my own, quiet way. The Vikings I like despite their purple and gold shiny outfits. Purple and gold were my high school colors, so try as I might, I see a bunch of Catholic school girls out there playing football. But, they seem to be able to play well. I will root for them, too.
Besides that, I like the name Favre because it's spelled funny, and I like not liking Michael Vick, even if he is going around and talking to kids about not teaching your puppies to bite the shit out of and kill other puppies. He still seems like an asshole to me. Dolphins and Seahawks sound like pussy names, but I admire guys getting on those teams and playing anyway, like they're real men. Packers...come on. But, again. Admiration.
So, despite the fact that I recently told someone that "I'd rather eat a dirty diaper than sit through a whole football game," I'm starting to think there's hope for me. If I had a really patient teacher, and I mean one who could also make it fun to learn- like I get some sort of prize each time I catch onto some rule or some such thing, or we act out football plays with little hamsters or something cute like that, I think I could do it. Maybe I could even play a game, which I've never in my life done.
I'd get out there and punt and tackle and leap from scrimmage line to scrimmage line, running right through the invisible yellow parts, straight toward the end zone, without any interference or off-sides bullying or whatever. And I'd kick a two-point conversion and then I'd do a victory dance and thank Jesus Christ who made it possible for me to be such an awesome football player.
But then I'd really just want to come inside and cuddle up with some hot cocoa and a good movie.