Ladies, this one is for you. A chill is in the air, the leaves are starting to turn, and the days are growing shorter. Is it just Autumn? No,it is football season. It's that time when women become temporary widows for the duration. And that duration is as long as commercial enterprises can drag it out. What to do?
In the interest of bringing harmony to the sexes during this season, I offer my advice. I don’t claim to be an expert on football, but I know I am in the estimated ten percent of women who know anything at all about football. I don’t want to hear from any men telling me I don’t know the game. I know. I have had no formal education, I have not cracked the code and all I know is by osmosis. However, this season is about strategy, and not only on the football field.
Your guy will retreat into that enclave of men and will not reappear until after the last wrap-up of the SUPER BOWL is over. Of course, if your household is equipped with a big screen and six hundred stations, your guy can always find a football game, even if it is Smalltown Preparatory vs. Nowhere Grade School. This is a pathetic attempt to feed his addiction, but don’t rule it out.
If you have been observant, you will have noticed that nothing your guy is supposed to do in the way of upkeep of the home is going to get done for about three months, so a seasoned football widow will have wisely worked her guy doubly hard to get those chores done before the disaster hits. He certainly will not hear your entreaties during the siege.
Since he does not like to be nagged, (women call it reminding), he will throw a sop or two your way. He will remind you how hard he works, and this is his only way of relaxing. He will even offer to teach you the game so you can watch with him. Don’t believe it. He will never spend that much time trying to teach you the rudiments, much less the finer points. However, this is a good opportunity for you to take him up on it. Tell him you are looking forward to his next party with the guys and he can explain it to you as you all watch.
Now, if a gal shows up at one of these functions, her guy is going to be called a “wuss”, just about the worst thing you can call him. Besides, it would inhibit the comments and behavior of those participating. Those comments will turn the air blue and the least obnoxious sound to be heard is a burp. No, he will not let you spoil that special bonding time. If worse comes to worse, he will toss you HIS credit card and HIS checkbook and suggest you spend the day at the mall. This is called bribery and is great. Remember the motto: “All’s fair in love and football”.
If you think you might distract him from watching the screen, think again. He has everything he needs there. Forget about walking around in your tiniest bikini. He will be watching six or eight young things, with everything still where it should be, scantily clad and bouncing around, waving pom-poms. Notice how there are never any male cheerleaders? Even the commercials are carefully devised to please the male palate. Bathroom humor is vogue right now.
For those gals who are put in charge of supplying refreshments at a party, here are a few tips. If you are a novice and this is your first party, you may be tempted to lay out a tastefully crafted display of food. Forget it. Forget putting out the cute dips/chips tray made in the form of a football. Only you will appreciate it. Throw some jumbo size bags of chips, pretzels and nuts on something horizontal and get out while you can. Usually, no demand is made of you to get the drinks. The reason is because you can’t be trusted to get what everybody likes. Give thanks for small favors.
Now, most women think that the game consists of a bunch of beefy guys running at each other and ending up in a big pile of flesh. But, that would be wrong. There is a lot of strategy and preparation that goes into the game. Someone has to formulate the plays, outline and explain them to the team, and conduct practice on those carefully outlined plays. THEN they all end up in a big pile of flesh.
The players are designated as fullback, halfback, quarterback and even something the color commentators call a “nickel back”. Some are called tackles, wide receivers and tight ends. Tight end is the name, not the result of wearing those snug pants. Other positions are: offensive, defensive and interior linemen, guards, safeties, running backs, tailbacks, and split ends. Split ends have nothing to do with hair care. There may be other positions, but these just come to mind. The game does have rules, contrary to what a casual observer may think. There are penalties for unnecessary roughness, (an oxymoron?), roughing the passer and roughing the kicker, for instance. See, it is not just uncontrolled mayhem.
To keep all this under control there are the officials. They wear striped black and white shirts. In any one game there may be from three to seven of these officials on the field. They all have different names, too, but it is not important to remember. One of the biggest mysteries to me is how some officials can stand really close to the action and never be run over or hit. It doesn’t happen often. These officials have lots of infractions they can whistle, signified by throwing down a yellow hankie. Some are: illegal procedure, delay of game, clipping, tripping, illegal use of hands, grabbing the face mask, and unsportsmanlike conduct. Perhaps in an effort not to be called on the latter, odd little rituals are played out. There is a lot of patting of butts. This butt patting is bestowed on your own team and the other team, too. There is the belly bopping and helmet smacking. All of this is done with good humor.
If you happen to turn your head and miss a play, not to worry. There are TV cameras placed strategically all over to capture the action from any angle and it will all be played back many, many times from all these angles. It will be in slow motion to get every delicious nuance of the play. If there is a blimp in the area, it will have filmed the play, too, and you will see it from way up high.
In the broadcast booth you will usually find three announcers. They could be former quarterbacks or somebody else who can give every stat known to the game. In contrast to the mess on the field below, they are clad in dress slacks, crisp shirts and tasteful ties. Speaking of stats, your guy cannot remember your birthday, your anniversary date, or the birthdate of your first born, but he can remember the temperature in Green Bay on any given game Sunday. That’s just for starters.
To pretend that women are part of the game, there is usually a female announcer on the sidelines for color. Most times her role is just telling the audience who was hurt, how bad, and the chances of the player coming back into the game. Sometimes, she is allowed to talk to the coach to assess his analysis of the game. If the coach’s team is behind he will say that he is disappointed with their “execution” of the plays, but he is playing a really fine opponent, and the second half will be different. Both coaches will say pretty much the same thing, so the skill connected in interviewing them is slight. Still, the female commentator gamely carries on.
Now, for the actual mechanics of the game, for those who really want to watch with their guys, and bond. The aim is to get over the goal line at the end of the field, either by passing the ball to a player or having a player run with the ball until he gets over the line. That is a touchdown and gives a team six points. Then the team may try for a PAT or “point after touchdown”. This is done by the team kicker, who is usually the cleanest guy on the field, so is easy to pick out. Or, the team may elect to make a conversion, (usually worth two points), by running the ball or passing into the end zone. Or, the team may elect to kick a field goal over the goal post, which counts for three points. Another way of scoring is making a safety, a rare occurrence, and one which, frankly, always leaves me asking “what happened?”
Advancing down the field is the aim. Getting first downs is the way this is done. A down is ten yards. When a team takes possession of the ball, it is first down. The team then has four downs to make a first down. If you only advance the ball, say, three yards, it then becomes second down, and you have three more tries to make first down. On second down, if you only advance the ball two yards, it is third down, with five more yards to go to make first down, and then....and then....
Barbara regularly writes for CapitolHillCoffeeHouse. She also appears in California Chronicle, Border Patrol, and Citizens Caucus. Her primary interest is illegal immigration, but she writes about other subjects as well.
Barbara lives in a large city on the West Coast. Her loyalties are with God, family, country, heritage and borders.
She enjoys music, painting, poetry and song writing.