Monday, January 17, 2011

Football, the Unadmitted Failing

Oh, dark secret! Oh, what shame I bear in this regard!

During NFL season, when I wake up, I think of the day as Game Day, or Not Game Day. Now, whether or not there's a game on is not the most important thing I think of, and not even usually the first, but it's right up there. I think about this before I think "Do I have leftover spaghetti available for breakfast?" or "Does the family all have clean underwear from my laundry duties?"

On Sundays during regular NFL season, I do not go anywhere but church in the morning. No. When I get back from church, the early game is in progress, and at half-time, I am in the kitchen making a nosh plate, from which I will snack my way through the day. Cucumbers, celery, olives, summer sausage slices, French bread with cream cheese, strawberries, tomato cubes, Fritos and jalapeno cheddar dip, assorted cheddar cheeses, thinly sliced cold tri-tip sprinkled with cumin ... so much to eat, so many games to watch -- bliss!

I watch the end of the early game, flip back and forth on the afternoon games, glare at the late game.

I know most of the quarterbacks' names, and how well they seem to be doing (except Chicago and Cleveland, for some odd reason, although this year I was incensed to see the constantly-spitting Cutler, so I remember him, with loathing, from his days in Denver); I know many defensive players, more running backs and receivers than any woman my age probably should. I relish watching their performances, frequently shouting advice to them and their coaches, as well as feedback on their plays.

Lillian has learned to play outside; Alex either goes to another room or wears headphones; Bernie has his laptop to amuse him, and -- perhaps it is his way of assuring marital harmony -- is able to tune out my coaching and commentary.

Now we are in Playoff Time, and that means that on both Saturday AND Sunday, my place is in my comfortable chair in full view of the television. I'll cook on Saturday morning, by golly, but that's it. Leftovers and noshes or make-your-owns are the rule of the weekend.

Yesterday, Bernie and Alex and Lil went for a long walk by the river, which allowed John and me to shout whatever we liked at the coaching staffs and the players. He and I were both hugely surprised and mollified to find that our exhortations resulted in a win over the juggernauting Patriots by the Jets, and my grand-daughter's doll, Sanchez. (If you don't follow this blog, "Sanchez" is what my granddaughter named her first doll seven years ago. I cannot watch Mark Sanchez without fantasizing that he is her dolly all grown up, which makes me very sentimental.)

Today was a Not Game Day.

Next weekend, Chicago will be crushed, along with their quarterback, Spitting Cutler (may they sack him a thousand times) by Green Bay, and my allegiance will be torn as Sanchez has to dodge the Steeler defense.

My sentimentality is probably overridden by Polamalu's hair and Harrison's body-flomping tackles, but we'll see.

Tomorrow is a Not Game Day, too.

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