The Hunter is a die-hard football fan. The Patriots are his team. Since I am a die-hard fan of The Hunter, I take more than a passing interest in football, and to make it all nice and cozy, I, too, root for the Pats.
The Packers were my father’s team. I remember watching the first Super Bowl with him and “our” delight when the Packers won. This is why I insist we continue to cheer them on as well. Come play off time, I have even been known to announce that if the Super Bowl comes down to the Patriots and the Packers, I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite, and would in fact be happy, no matter the outcome. The Hunter is appalled at such heretical nonsense.
During “the season,” which appears, once again, to be upon us, meals and other events are planned around “the schedule.” While it goes without saying that The Hunter is always engrossed in strategy and what is actually happening on the field, I prefer to bring a new perspective to his understanding of the game through a running commentary on the design mistakes in the uniforms, the effectiveness of the various team logos, and the appropriateness of the various typefaces.
When I finish with that, there are the hidden insights into players and coaches by placing them – based solely on their appearance – somewhere in history. For example in a past life, the Patriot’s defensive coach Matt Patricia obviously spent some time at the front of a Viking longboat. If you were looking for a poster boy for a barbarian, he is it. Or Chris Long, a newly-signed Patriots’ defensive end, surely had a career as a gladiator about 2000 years ago.
Now, remember, I am speaking purely on appearance. Mr. Patricia and I have never been introduced. He could be a baa-lamb in the flesh. I believe rocket scientists (his first career) generally are. And I know nothing of Mr. Long’s interests. I only became aware of him four weeks ago.
Should I run out of these new and different insights to offer, there is always my frustration with the ever more ridiculous rules.
“After all,” I tell The Hunter, “this is war, not an elementary school playground, so why does shoving someone away from the ball mean a penalty? He’s only doing his job, right? Who thinks up these things?”
The NFL has become its own nanny state. They have bought into the idea that while everyone is free to do whatever he wants – like play football – there can be no risk. We have to make it safe. You can’t make violence safe. And trying to do so is like tampering with free markets. You only screw them up.
The Daughter, having blended in nicely into her adopted country of Great Britain, informs me that in any case, American football is for wusses (or perhaps she said ‘panty waists’ – I don’t recall; all I remember is that it was highly uncomplimentary.) Real Men Play Rugby. To back up this inflammatory statement, she cites the lack of helmets and pads, as well as the “blood substitution rule” by which a player may come out of the game and be replaced for only as long as it takes him to get stitched up. Once he is no longer spewing blood everywhere, he is back in.
And truly, when you compare this with the fact that U.S. players are penalized for shoving, she may be right.
The point of all this, if there is one, which I am beginning to doubt, is that there are many ways of looking at things. Or perhaps it is that you can always learn something – even in the most unpromising circumstances. Or even that finding joy really depends on your attitude. Or perhaps it is just as simple as “Go Pats!!!”
*Courtesy of Vince Lombardi